The good news is that there is good news for the medical profession.
“Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier.”
A smart doctor recently explained to me his theory on why the electronic medical records (EMRs) situation is driving physician dissatisfaction.
He said that he wasn’t against technology as much as he is worried about how it might be used later to undermine “the healing bond.” He called it the government’s biggest push into the medical profession—saddling the doctors with more data collection and then demanding the results.
“They just want to get in that exam room and tell us what to do,” this doctor told me, “to rule medical care. To control treatment decisions. And further shatter the sacred physician-patient relationship.”
While that’s just one opinion, if it’s so, then what proper doctor wouldn’t be unhappy? That’s the bad news. The good news is that there is good news for the medical profession. Here are a few positive points to consider:
• Trust—Americans are largely satisfied with their healthcare. Hence, doctors are doing their jobs very well. A couple of new Gallup Polls confirm the good works. In one recent survey, more than 75% of Americans rated the quality of their healthcare as "excellent" or "good." In another poll, two in three Americans believe their doctor has "high" or "very high" ethical standards.
• Income—Even with modest ambition, today’s average physician can easily earn over $200,000 a year. The medical profession makes up a big portion of the top 1% of all earners in the nation. Even so, doctors are in great demand. Opportunities abound. All in all, excellent compensation for being able to help humanity. It’s hard to top that.
• Achievement—The marvels of medicine, too often unheralded nowadays, is the utter foundation of the doctoring profession. The record demands respect. Just recently a news report found very encouraging results on cancer care and drug development, teen pregnancy, organ transplantation, vaccines, allergies, and surgical techniques. That’s a lot of progress and doctors should be proud.
• Smarts—“With very few exceptions that I know of, you must be intelligent to be a doctor,” my physician-dad once confided in me. The Mensa-approved benchmark for smarts, the Henmon-Nelson IQ test, shows that medical doctors have the highest IQ among all occupations (128 average). Dad also believed that there was very little a keen mind couldn’t overcome—burnout included.
• Investing—Financial gain can be found in the market. Even with a rough year, Warren Buffett’s firm Berkshire Hathaway rose 20%—helping to boost his personal fortune by over $12 billion—more than any other US billionaire in 2016. And what advice does “the greatest investor of all history” have for his heirs? Invest regularly and patiently in a decent stock index fund.
Happy New Year, doctors.