The Pros and Cons of Medical Experience

The Pros and Cons of Medical Experience

Medical education is an apprenticeship and has been so for thousands of years. It is unlikely to change in the near future. Consequently, the model reveres the teacher and places obligations to the student, even by taking an oath.

However, as noted in a recent opinion piece, it is a good news, bad news story.

The good news:

1. Nobody pays for clinical judgement anyway. There is no CPT code for it, and yet, it probably is the most cost-effective tool in the black bag.

2. Too many doctors refuse to get out of the way. Senior doctors are either unwilling or unable to quit.

3. Technopreneurs are now premeds. The old and the grumpy are resistant to change.

4. 20% of American doctors are over 65 and it predicted their numbers will increase.

5. Younger doctors are less likely to create barriers to dissemination and implementation

6. They are more comfortable with social media, data and next generation communication techniques

7. Despite years of experience, many doctors still practice reimbursement based medicine instead of evidence based medicine.

8. Younger doctors are better than older doctors According to a study by Harvard researchers, patients of older physicians have a higher mortality rate than those of their younger colleagues.

The study, published in the British Medical Journal, looked at more than 700,000 patients being treated by about 19,000 doctors from 2011 to 2014, reported Ars Technica, a tech and science website. All the patients were aged 65 or older and on Medicare. From the data, researchers found a clear rise in mortality rates as the age of the doctors increased.

9.   Younger doctors will probably have more abbreviated clinical careers, thus making room for the next generation

10. More and more younger doctors will have side gigs or part-time gigs, thus enabling more accommodating working schedules, like job sharing.

The bad news about younger docs:

1. The are less entrepreneurial. 

2. They are up to their elbows in debt that, in some instances, drives specialty choice.

3. The don't know what they don't know and in many instances are unwilling to accept it.

4. They have terrible wardrobes.

5. They think "experience"comes from going to and graduating from medical school. There is a reason it's called "physician entrepreneurship".

Physician entrepreneurs fall in to 3 basic demographic categories: the young and the restless, the desperados and the old and the grumpy.

Can we learn to teach and learn from each other? You bet. Here's how.

Arlen Meyers, MD, MBA is the President and CEO of the Society of PhysicianEntrepreneurs.

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  • Amy Holloway

    There’s still a lot to love about medical experience

  • Lauren Varney

    If you grow tired of seeing the same faces day in and day out, you should not work in a hospital.

  • Stephen McMahon

    There’s tons of room to grow to improve medical experience

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Arlen Meyers, MD, MBA

Former Contributor

Arlen Meyers, MD, MBA is a professor emeritus of otolaryngology, dentistry, and engineering at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and the Colorado School of Public Health and President and CEO of the Society of Physician Entrepreneurs at He has created several medical device and digital health companies. His primary research centers around biomedical and health innovation and entrepreneurship and life science technology commercialization. He consults for and speaks to companies, governments, colleges and universities around the world who need his expertise and contacts in the areas of bio entrepreneurship, bioscience, healthcare, healthcare IT, medical tourism -- nationally and internationally, new product development, product design, and financing new ventures. He is a former Harvard-Macy fellow and In 2010, he completed a Fulbright at Kings Business, the commercialization office of technology transfer at Kings College in London. He recently published "Building the Case for Biotechnology." "Optical Detection of Cancer", and " The Life Science Innovation Roadmap". He is also an associate editor of the Journal of Commercial Biotechnology and Technology Transfer and Entrepreneurship and Editor-in-Chief of Medscape. In addition, He is a faculty member at the University of Colorado Denver Graduate School where he teaches Biomedical Entrepreneurship and is an iCorps participant, trainer and industry mentor. He is the Chief Medical Officer at and and Chairman of the Board at GlobalMindED at, a non-profit at risk student success network. He is honored to be named by Modern Healthcare as one of the 50 Most Influential Physician Executives of 2011 and nominated in 2012 and Best Doctors 2013.

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