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    Young doctors are jumping ship to non-clinical roles

    Editor’s Note: Welcome to Medical Economics' blog section which features contributions from members of the medical community. These blogs are an opportunity for bloggers to engage with readers about a topic that is top of mind, whether it is practice management, experiences with patients, the industry, medicine in general, or healthcare reform. The series begins with this blog by Ryan Gamlin, a former health care management consultant and current medical student at the University of Cincinnati. The views expressed in these blogs are those of their respective contributors and do not represent the views of Medical Economics or UBM Medica.


    Ryan GamlinToday, 2016 finds us at an inflection point in medicine, and no, it’s not CRISPR, the opiate epidemic, nor the development of targeted biological therapies.

    Hot topic: Top 12 worst and best paying states for internists

    Rather, I find it fascinating that an increasing proportion of the roughly 100,000 doctors in medical school today do not intend to treat patients as their primary career – or at all.

    The movement of doctors from patient care to non-clinical roles has caused no shortage of hand-wringing, from NPR’s December 2015 story, “Siren Song Of Tech Lures New Doctors Away From Medicine” to a recent lament in the Society of Hospital Medicine’s monthly The Hospitalist, “Concerns Grow as Top Clinicians Choose Nonclinical Roles”.

    I suspect, however, that most physicians view those who leave clinical practice behind, either in whole or part, with some degree of envy. These “Drop Out Docs” (complete with a website dedicated to job opportunities) have weighed their opportunities as a practicing physician or surgeon – long held as one of the most prestigious and well-remunerated professions in the United States – against the alternatives, and still choose to leave. Why?

    Next: Discovering an answer

    Ryan Gamlin
    Ryan Gamlin (Twitter: @ryangamlin) is a former health care management consultant and current medical student at the University of ...


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    • Dr. James McCarty, M.D.
      Why would a bright young person give up his or her 20s to enter a job where you never get a raise and where you are treated like a criminal?
    • Dr. Maestro
      This is not about symptoms, such as burnout or job dissatisfaction. Patients are scheduled 8 hours a day because negotiated insurance or government reimbursement levels are too low; increasingly, lunches are devoted to mandatory management meetings; any “extra” time is spent on online computer training, such as HIPAA compliance. Patient, hospital and nursing home calls need to be answered, somehow, in between. You need to get up at 2 A.M. in order to review that day’s lab and x-ray reports online as there is no opportunity to do so during the day. Patients are coming in with two or three different insurance and DME special requests forms to fill; each elderly person with complex care has one or more drugs that require prior authorization, including filling out a three page form for a Rx of Viagra, with applicable copies of medical records. EHR vendors are adding more mouse clicks to every function – 33 to fill a prescription! The real question is why does anyone stay in medicine?
    • Dr. Mark A. Roberts
      After 33 years as a family physician in solo practice--I do have two superbly-trained FNPs--I can see their point. Those of us who have weathered the horrific governmental and insurance intrusions into healthcare are telling it exactly as it is now: it sucks, patient care suffers, longer hours for us primary care providers(so much of which is "non-billable time"), and less reimbursement. I spend at least as much time on the damned EMR as I do with the patients now...thanks to Big Brothers with double-digit IQs and a cookbook watching my every move and, frequently!, DICTATING my next move for the care of the poor patient. I would NEVER have gone into medicine had I known back then it would come to this sad state of affairs. It's about what's best for the insurers, not what's best for the patient.

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