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The Business Of Medicine: Critical To Medical Education?

Most medical schools do a reasonably good job clinically preparing medical students to be future physicians.

But they can do better, especially in our fragmented health system where millions of Americans have to contend with costs as much as they have to with their medical conditions.

In her recent New York Times column, Pauline Chen cites a study showing that students exposed to more non-clinical topics, like medical economics, health policy, and the “business” of medicine, were more satisfied with their education.

As the author of that study notes, “when you have hundreds of insurance plans and thousands of insurance groups and different hospitals, you have to be really smart about the health care system . . . Our findings suggest that we are not preparing them nearly as well for that challenge as we are for their clinical work.”

I’ve continually noted that students are not prepared for the business of health care, which today, is as important as the medicine itself. Consequently, patients suffer as doctors are not attuned to their economic realities, such as the cost of their prescription drugs and the labyrinthine bureaucracy they have to contend with.

Medical schools need to do more to prepare doctors deal with these non-clinical issues; prevalent only in our uniquely American health system.

*This blog post was originally published at KevinMD.com*


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One Response to “The Business Of Medicine: Critical To Medical Education?”

  1. DeeDee says:

    I understand the point, for real I do. There are several other areas the medical schools need to prepare their future physicians for as well. One I can think of right off the top of my head is DICTATING! Now I know that dictation has GOT to be a thorn in every physician’s side to say the least, but as a medical transcriptionist having been in this business for 24 years now, I have heard some doozies. And now with the huge influx of foreign doctors practicing in this country, it has almost become ridiculous. Many simply cannot speak the language. Period! They CANNOT speak the language. They cannot form a proper sentence in English. How do they talk to the elderly patients they take care of? Most of the elderly ones have hearing problems anyway. How can they expect an elderly person to know what they are trying to say to them? Instructing them to do? With the new wave of the future, speech recognition programs for medical transcription I’m afraid the days of you getting an accurate report have gone out the window. The MT companies are hiring young twits who have had no training to “edit” these reports that the speech engines document on a screen. They go through the document and listen to the dictation at the same time and edit, cut/paste, delete, insert the proper sentences. Most of these reports are more quickly typed out on the old fashioned MS Word than edited because you end up having to type the whole blasted thing anyway. Yet the big companies are pushing these speech programs as the wave of the future. I would think long and hard if I were a physician about going into this speech end. It has nothing but problems and until people learn how to speak, it will continue to be that way. (i.e. bedridden vs. bed rider) for real….had that one the other day spoken by a human being himself. Scary indeed!

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