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Is Medicine No Longer a Calling?

Tue, 12/15/2009 - 6:42am
By: Dr. Val, Medpage Today

As I sit here in a medical innovation conference, I find myself becoming more and more angered by one of the speakers. A man with an MBA and fancy title from PriceWaterhouseCoopers is lecturing us about how doctors are essentially money-grubbing, change-resistant, quality-care avoiding “pains in the you-know-what,” obstructing progress in healthcare reform and blocking technology adoption.

His lack of understanding of the complexity of medical care was breathtaking. And yet, he expresses a sentiment that I’ve heard all too many times. Here are a few choice quotations:

“Doctors only make money when you’re sick, so they have no incentive to make you well.”

“Tell me two things about a doctor, and I’ll tell you what kind of medicine he practices: where he went to medical school, and what year he graduated.”

“Doctors never change how they practice medicine. They get into a routine and never innovate or adopt new approaches.”

“EMRs will dramatically improve the quality of care provided by doctors because when we aggregate all their outcomes data, we can pay for value and incentivize them to do the right thing for patients.”

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