Yes, it's all about patient empowerment and the democratization of health. But as we empower the patient, there's someone sitting on the sidelines. It's the physician.
Defined these days by burnout, misery and a burning desire to leave the profession, todays' physician is yesterday's icon of accomplishment. And to further the sad story is the advancements of other healthcare professionals such as the nurse and pharmacists who claim more and more responsibility. Then there's the looming aspect of artificial intelligence that threatens to replace today's physician with a smarter and more efficient electronic model. Just ask a physician if he or she would like their child to go to medical school...
And while this all my be true--to one degree or another. Something else is in the air. Over the outcries of patients, advocacy groups, caregivers and the common folks is the timing for a clarion call of physician empowerment. Remember, we love physicians. We trust in them to provide valuable insights to care and life. And the simple reality is that these life savers are driven by intellect and compassion that sadly is drowned out by other valid voices that just may be more "timely" or loud. We just need to get the physician away from the torturous EHR and provide them with a real seat at the table. Because healthcare reform and evolution must engage the clinician as a primary stakeholder and not just part of the problem or a disenfranchised remnant of yesterday's model.
So, have docs given up? Have they resigned to the complexities of a system that seems out to get them? I don't think so. But, in my experience, it seems that movements like digital health have created this assumption that the empowered patient will own care and the physician is, at best a passive participant. So, maybe the democratization of health is really a two-party system where both patient and physician work together to optimize care. Individual control has shifted to collaboration and that's a win-win. But today's dynamic make is seem like a win-lose, with the physician as a tragic victim to innovation. But dear doctor, if you don't act up, that might just happen. So, next time frustration takes hold, remember that you're really in charge and play such central role to care. But you might have to bend to grow stronger in today's world defined by exponential change. So, keep this in mind...
- Recognize change.
- Embrace technology as your empowerment.
- Be part of the solution.
- Place an optimistic foot forward.
- Advocate for the exciting future of techno-empowered physicians.
- Stand up and be heard!
And while this revolt might be better defined as a movement or empowerment, it's worded this way to help drive action. There's no better and more honorable job than to be a physician. So, physician, heal thyself!
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