Editor’s Note:which features contributions from members of the medical community. These blogs are an opportunity for bloggers to engage with readers about a topic that is top of mind, whether it is practice management, experiences with patients, the industry, medicine in general, or healthcare reform. The series begins with this blog by Ryan Gamlin, a former health care management consultant and current medical student at the University of Cincinnati. The views expressed in these blogs are those of their respective contributors and do not represent the views of or UBM Medica.
Today finds us at an inflection point in medicine, and no, it’s not CRISPR, the opiate epidemic, nor the development of targeted biological therapies.
Rather, I find it fascinating that an increasing proportion of the roughly 100,000 doctors in medical school today do not intend to treat patients as their primary career – or at all.
The movement of doctors from patient care to non-clinical roles has caused no shortage of hand-wringing, from NPR’s December 2015 story, “Siren Song Of Tech Lures New Doctors Away From Medicine” to a recent lament in the Society of Hospital Medicine’s monthly The Hospitalist, “Concerns Grow as Top Clinicians Choose Nonclinical Roles”.
I suspect, however, that most physicians view those who leave clinical practice behind, either in whole or part, with some degree of envy. These “Drop Out Docs” (complete with a website dedicated to job opportunities) have weighed their opportunities as a practicing physician or surgeon – long held as one of the most prestigious and well-remunerated professions in the United States – against the alternatives, and still choose to leave. Why?