Every Medical School admissions officer has seen their fill of admission essays that begin, “I really just want to help people.” That line of reasoning is such a universal claim that it rings hollow in its triteness.
But in all reality, everybody who works in medicine does have noble intentions. There are so many easier ways to make money and so many simpler pathways to get to employment than medical training that, for all the physician’s cynical bluster, the idea of helping people must be at root.
In this age, the simple act of caring for patients has become a blood sport. Pressures such as regulation, financial strictures, third party payers etc. etc. seem to interfere with access and caregiving. These are obstacles that seem to block the essential interaction at the patient-provider level – the core unit of medical care.
More providers are throwing up their hands in despair. Burnout rates are at all-time highs, satisfaction at all-time lows. Whereas physicians used to imagine their careers as lifelong vocations, more are seeking early retirement.
Change is a bad word in medicine. It denotes weakness and dissatisfaction. If you’re perfect, you never have to change, so if you change you must be somehow imperfect.
But change is both real and necessary. All human systems evolve with time. If you don’t, you ossify and time and progress pass you by.
At Peer Spectrum, through podcasts, blog entries and shared information, we will explore change, both good and bad. We will discuss ways to harness changes so that they work to your benefit or at the very least to your minimal disruption. We will consider the difference between reactivity and proactivity to change. And we will dare to imagine the effects of changes, both small and sweeping, on your practices and your lives.
I have been a physician for more than twenty years and have worked through and orchestrated three major practice changes in my life, including the design and implementation of my own solo practice. My colleague, Colin Miller, has worked with me and other physicians and also has insight into the complex maze of regulations and administration and the workings of the healthcare industry. Together, we present a complementary experience of many aspects of health and medical care; the good, the bad and the not so beautiful. We will also bring in thought leaders and individuals with other interests and perspectives to make our conversation topical and stimulating.
In short, although these are stormy times for medical practice, there are ways to control the changes and benefit from them. Ultimately, our goal will be to help our audience to recapture the callow optimism of that Medical School application when the world really did turn on a concept as simple as a desire to do good things.
Keith Mankin, MD
October 17, 2016