Facing the second of two cataract surgeries, I feel I’ve seen enough doctors for a while. Unfortunately, as one gets older, a person tends to see more, not less, of them. I should be happy. I have access to medical care when I need it. In some parts of the country, particularly rural areas where doctors are scarce, seeing a practitioner is a luxury. We city dwellers shouldn’t become complacent, however, as change is in the wind. Medical students have more career options than in the past, and many of them are fleeing general practice to those new and more lucrative fields.
The degree to earn today is an MD-MBA — combined medical and business studies. The reasons are various. Newly licensed doctors say they want to avoid struggling with insurance companies, more free time and better pay. (“Doctors Without Patients,” Bloomberg Businessweek, September 11, 2017, pg. 34.) As one job recruiter points out, an MD-MBA is desirable because doctors have learned skills compatible with other fields. In 2006 questionnaire 8% of medical students admitted they were planning careers outside medicine. In 2015 that number jumped to 25%. (Ibid, pg. 34.)
Besides becoming well-paid medical consultants, for example, graduates with an MD-MBA can follow their passion. Instead of tying themselves to large, medical institutions, today, they can find investors willing to back their private enterprises. “…investment in medical-related startups climbed from $9.4 billion in 2007 to$11.9 billion in 2016. (Ibid pg. 34.)
I’m old enough to remember when a doctor paid home visits to patients, day or night. Nowadays, unless a person is a billionaire, no one enjoys that level of attention. Worse, as medical graduates flee general practice, the time may come when finding a doctor anywhere will be the new standard of luxury.