Doctors Are the Solution, Not the Problem

Increasingly, doctors are part of the solution to the healthcare industry's problem. And, no, they are not terrible business people.

We all know that Sickcare USA needs a Big Fix and I've suggested how to get it done. Many, including doctors, think doctors are part of the problem instead of the solution. I disagree, and in fact, more and more see evidence that doctors are not only flexing their muscles, hearts, and brains to restore the integrity and professionalism of medicine, but increasingly are being imaginative, creative, and entrepreneurial on behalf of their patients and themselves.

First, while relatively few doctors have an entrepreneurial mindset, that statistic is changing. The startup and entrepreneurship bug has infected undergraduates, medical students, residents and fellows, and practitioners. Recently, as an example, I had a chat with a program director friend who said she is having to respond more and more to resident applicants who are asking, “How will you support my innovation during my residency?” It seems you simply can't have GME credibility these days unless you make or buy an accelerator.

Second, the medical educational establishment is increasingly responding to the market demands of communities that want doctors with 21st century competencies in data analysis, population health, disease prevention and wellness, personalized medicine using up-to-date results of NextGen sequencing, and proteomic research.

Third, doctors are pushing back against their medical association and board leadership who are not representing their interests and demanding a rethinking of CME and board renewal certification and competency requirements.

Fourth, clinical researchers are reformulating their relationships with other members of clusters, including new funding sources, industry partners, and entrepreneurs. They are vocal about their concerns as we attempt to get health information technologies right and are demanding a seat at the table earlier and earlier in the research and development process prior to deployment.

Finally, more and more physicians are assuming leadership positions in health systems, industry, hospital administration, and policy-making positions. I recently attended a session with the new Commissioner of the FDA, Robert Califf, MD, MACC, an academically trained research cardiologist, and was impressed with his openness and thoughtfulness about complicated questions that, as yet, have no answers.

Increasingly, doctors are part of the solution. And, no, they are not terrible business people. In fact, they realize that the business of medicine is as important and part and parcel of the practice of medicine if they are to serve as the stewards of dwindling and precious sick care resources.

Congratulations to all my colleagues who, every day, in their own way, are creating user defined value and the future of care. Despite the naysayers, now is an exciting time to be in medicine, assuming our rightful place.