100,000 doctors in school now will NOT go into practice. Why is this good news?

By March 19, 2016Biopharma

Why would 100,000 doctors currently in medical school not go into practice? Why would they turn away from serving patients and following their mission? And why is this potentially good news?

There are many reasons, some obvious, some not. I am shocked by the number, but not surprised. And you know what, it makes sense. Let’s look at the debate and review some technologies changing health care delivery — created by doctors!

In this post we will review this trend in medicine with Healthtap and Ginger.io.

According to several studies, summarized well in a blog by a medical student, Ryan Gamlin, on MedicalEconomics.com, the list is long:

  • Pressures of the post-ACA medical practice.
  • Conflict between doctors on the front-line and hospital managers minding the spreadsheets, the tedium of a partially broken system.
  • The lure of technology and its broader, and more innovative impact on patients and the healthcare system.

From the  NPR’s December 2015 story, “Siren Song Of Tech Lures New Doctors Away From Medicine” to a recent  in the Society of Hospital Medicine’s monthlyThe Hospitalist, “Concerns Grow as Top Clinicians Choose Nonclinical Roles”, the reason for not going into traditional practice almost seems logical. In many ways, this turn away from tradition is driven by the need of many doctors to fix the system, to provide better care and deliver it through technology.

First is HealthTap: A video and text-based 24/7 doctor-on-call service. They have great marketing, a great service and as they wrote to me in  an email:

“With HealthTap Prime, you’ll have unlimited: 24/7 access to primary care; Live video or text chat virtual consults; Medical advice anytime, anywhere; Prescriptions, lab tests, and so much more!”

HealthTap opening App screen:

I have not engaged with them, but every time I call to see my GP, and begin to have what I call the “scheduling wrestling match” I pause and think about the appeal of HealthTap’s on-demand health service promise. Whats more, their branding is simple and almost charming: “Doctors are making house calls again.” Kind of appealing when you find out you can’t get to see your doctor for two weeks about that nagging cough.

Even HealthTap’s registration is very friendly and ignores the technology for the human aspect of their service.

Diving into more specific condition management and support, Ginger.io app for mental illness is truly progressive and has overcome many of the reasons the adoption of mHealth apps has been so poor — the App is multi-dimensional and evolves with you.

 Conclusion: technology has taken over the point-of-care, but not always in a positive, helpful way. The idea that doctors’ have decided to embrace technology over practice is not as simple as it sounds. If they choose in-practice, they are less masters of their own fate that chattel to the hospital procedures and formulary that owns them; yet if they chose technology, they could impact entire population grounds and be the Agents of Change we need right now.

BTW, the future of medicine is either a bull to ride or be run over by…

Thank you getreferralmd.com for the infographic.



Many thanks to Ryan Gamlin (@ryangamlin), a former health care management consultant and current medical student at the University of Cincinnati. Also to MedicalEconomics.com and NPR being so smart and insightful with their content.