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Medical Economics 100th anniversary: The first editor’s column from the 1923 debut issue of Medical Economics

Commentary
Article

A glimpse into the past as we celebrate 100 years of Medical Economics

H. Sheridan Baketel, M.D.: ©Medical Economics

H. Sheridan Baketel, M.D., the founder of Medical Economics: © Medical Economics

Editor's Note: Medical Economics published its first issue in October 1923. That first issue had eight articles, including a "Salutatory" by H. Sheridan Baketel, M.D., the magazine's first editor and a professor of preventive medicine at the Long Island College of Medicine. In the Salutatory, Baketel lays out the mission of the magazine. We are republishing it in its entirety as part of our celebration of the brand's 100th anniversary.

A physician is ordinarily regarded as an indifferent businessman, who in the race of life suffers economically because of his business ineptitude. His training usually has been entirely along professional lines. The average practitioner has had no opportunity to acquire business experience; because of that his reasoning is along scientific grooves and, as a result, although he may have a considerable income, he does not always make the best uses of a possible surplus. Again he may earn much, but for various reasons collect far less.

Medical Economics is to provide the physician with a medium which will be devoted entirely to the business features of the medical profession and to the economic factors which obtrude themselves in the daily life of the physician. Professional matters as such, will not be discussed in these pages excepting incidentally and as they have a bearing on the purpose of our activities.

The subjects for consideration in Medical Economics will be divided into three groups, each of which will be subdivided as occasion demands.

  • The development and conduct of practice
  • The collection of accounts.
  • The investment of earnings

It is planned to publish a well-balanced journal with from six to 10 articles each month, in which shall be filled with practical facts, each one written by a specialist in his particular line. The table of contents published on another page is fairly indicative of what the reader may expect. In addition to these general topics for discussion, there will be several pages of editorial manner and several pages devoted to new instruments and appliances with proper cuts and descriptive matter.

It is the hope of the progenitors of Medical Economics to present to the physician each month a journal, whose contents will materially aid the practitioner in the conduct of his professional and business affairs. The hope is expressed that through the suggestions made in these pages, the physician may be shown methods by means of which he can increase his compensation in a strictly ethical manner, collect the greater part of his earnings, and invest the surplus in such a way as to give him the best returns commensurate with safety.

Contributions along these practical lines are solicited from members of the medical professionals.

The advertising will be eminently ethical and only those houses will be represented whose products have gained the confidence of the physician.

There are more than 100,000 licensed practitioners of medicine in the United States. Their professional wants are being catered to through the medium of many and various journals of repute, thus providing for this angle of their requirements. However, there has not as yet been any publication which devotes itself to the human element of the physician’s needs. The physician applies himself to his practice with all of his faculties keyed up to his patients’ needs. His entire training from his earliest college days, constitutes him a delver in the scientific details of his profession, plus a feverish anxiety to carry on his responsible tasks, so as to render service to his fellow man. His unselfishness oftentimes makes him a martyr to the wiles of the unscrupulous because he is ordinarily unsophisticated in affairs outside the domain of his loved profession.

Medical Economics does not purpose to advise any steps nor to suggest any program, which is calculated to abate one jot the altruistic which for all the centuries has typified the career of the physician. It does, however, purpose to direct the attention to this army of benefactors to the needs of their firesides, to the practical side of the doctor's life, with a view to his present needs and to preparedness for the future of himself and those dependent upon him.