December 2010

Health Care Reform: 3 Survival Tips for Doctors

Health care reform survival? “But I thought it will solve all the problems with insurance coverage, pre-existing conditions, record keeping, malpractice, and be kind of like a free lunch,” you say.


I’m really glad that some people may likely be able to get some health care, who previously could not as a result of the proposed changes, but otherwise I would delay any celebrations.

Nobody really knows what the outcome will be for doctors, but it’s difficult to see any easier times coming. If anything, the good that comes from it will be a “weeding” out of doctors with sub-optimal priorities like just making money.

Here are 3 survival tips for you doctors who plan on hanging in there through thick and thin:

1) Hang in there through thick and thin. Yep, everything will be OK relatively speaking. You may have to work harder and make less money, but I doubt you’ll be suffering. Geewiz, you may have to downsize from a 50 inch flat screen to a  36! Or you may have to trade your Hummer in for a BMW. I’m just teasing of course, but my point is that becoming and being a doctor will always carry prestige and good pay. People will always need help with their health.Your needed even if it gets ugly!

2) Get real. Yeah you, with your arrogant attitude, hiding behind the myth of “evidence based” type treatment.I know you may have good intentions, but here is the truth as revealed by some prominent docs:

Medicine has always operated in uncertainty,” says Weil. “The Office of Technology Assessment of the U.S. Congress estimated that fewer than 30 percent of procedures currently used in conventional medicine have been rigorously tested. While waiting for further tests, we do the best we can, trying not to hurt people, trying to make educated guesses.”- Dr Andrew Weil MD, Discover Magazine August 1999-

“Only about 15% of medical interventions are supported by scientific evidence…this is partly because only 1% of the articles in medical journals are scientifically sound.”- David Eddy MD, PhD, BMJ 1991 303:798

So cast aside the false pretenses, use the so called “evidence based” info as just one piece of the puzzle, and get back to the art of doctoring, using all your senses, your love, your concern, your open-mindedness, and your whole-hearted effort in the best interest of your patient.

3) Dedicate yourself. That’s right, doctoring is not just your job, it should be your passion, your calling, your mission to help God‘s people. Think back to why you decided to become a doctor. I bet your intentions then were very worthy. They still can and need to be if you’re going to thrive in the face of all the garbage that comes with being a doctor. I know it’s not easy. You’ve got more responsibilities and pressures than ever before and probably more coming. God will never give you more than you can handle. So the solution is acceptance of all that, then get good at delegating, building a strong team that can assist you, and getting systems in place to ease your responsibilities.

A few years ago I shadowed an ultra-successful doctor. He had a huge practice with multiple doctors, a dozen staff, and a huge facility. As we stepped into the hallway between his going from one patient to another I asked him ” How do you keep all these multiple tasks going in your mind?” He answered calmly and with a smile “All I see in my mind is a placid blue lake.”   Wow!!!

One of the busiest doctors of all times, if not the busiest, Clarence Gonstead, was once asked in his later years “How is it that you see so many more patients than any other doctor?” Waving his long crippled finger he said “Listen sonny, I only have one patient and it’s the one in front of me at any given time!” Double wow!!!

Hey, it’s a tremendous blessing and honor to be a doctor. You can thrive with these “between your ear” adjustments. I’ve written about 50 more tips like these in my ebook called Reclaim the Joy of Practice: An Advanced guide for Advancing Doctors. You can order it securely HERE.

I did it. You’re next!

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Categories: Health care reform


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