Friday, September 30, 2011

the times they are a changin'

What an insightful article by Dr Gary Oftendahl on Kevin MDs blog. I don't often give docs credit (har har har), but his article is very interesting.

He makes a couple of very good points:
1) Those of us in medicine have ingrained ideas often taught in our training.
2) If it really hard for docs to give up the idea that they are "special" (his words) because that is what they are told by society and taught in training.

When you are in school and in training for medicine naturally there is a standard way of doing things,a standard of how the practice should be set up and take place. It couldn't be any other way because there are too many too teach. You are not taught to be open minded about medicine and the way it is practiced. You are not taught to "think outside the box". You are not taught flexibility and openness to change.

Here's the thing: As we all know, change is a constant in medicine. Health care moves faster and faster every day. Either you go with it or you are left behind. For the most part, we all accept that. The daily changes. We have a harder time with the flexibility and openmindedness required for the inevitable big changes that have come and ARE coming. Our role within medicine as different groups - doctors, nurses, techs, etc. may change drastically as medicine changes. Naturally we resist this. We want to have control over our professions. We fear irrelevance. The thing is I doubt that 20 years from now we will even recognize the medicine that we practice today. That is how big the change willl be.

Doctors have always been revered in our society. They have been put on a pedestal, rightly so I suppose, after all they are healers. They have been tagged special because of their position. They have, up until the last couple of decades, controlled medicine. Those days are gone. They aren't coming back. The fact of the matter is cost will control medicine in the future. Patients will control medicine. Hospitals are already catering to what patients want. This consumer (patient) controlled aspect of medicine will only expand.

Doctors are going to have to come down off of their pedestals. Sorry. They are going to have to realize that they are a PART of medicine, not the controlling factor in medicine. Right now doctors (and a whole lot of nurses and others) are resisting change. We will all have to be open and flexible and embrace change if we want a voice, otherwise the decisions will be made without us.

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