PHYSICIANS/QUALITY: Now it’s smoking too many old doctors kills you, by The Industry Veteran

A recent study instead of looking at specialists versus generalists showed that there’s a strong correlation that the older physicians get — and the further away from medical school — the worse the outcomes for their patients. While you may see this as an inevitability or a trick of the data, The Industry Veteran suggests that there are more malevolent factors at work:

My clients are blithely perceiving this news as confirmation of the admonition from Marketing 101 that they should segment physicians by age in addition to their usual criteria of specialty, Rx writing volume, current product preferences and so forth.  By contrast I perceive the news in a more dour fashion, taking it as further confirmation of the medical profession’s malevolence. Organized medicine’s failure to institute and enforce rigorous standards of continuing medical education is a menace to public health. Their failure reflects all pernicious elements of the guild mentality and the sense of entitlement that we perpetually see in physicians. Once they have completed that residency, they are as regents of the kingdom, set loose upon a defenseless public.  The fact that the profession exempts its practitioners from self-funded CME requirements virtually invites some of the worst excesses of pharmaceutical and other manufacturers. The companies provide continuing education programs that just happen to serve as promotional platforms for their respective products.  The added incentive of these company sponsored programs also providing mini-vacations for physicians and their families/mistresses is a mere incidental. Perhaps George Bernard Shaw used a bit of hyperbole in saying that every profession is a conspiracy against the public, but his language is a strict, empirical description of reality in medicine.

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3 replies »

  1. Competency testing for physicians. What a concept! What an opportunity for physician specialty organizations to step up…

  2. I guess the Veteran’s point is that CME doesn’t have to be paid for by the docs themselves, therefore they are likely to take CME sponsored by someone else…who’s likely to be a drug company. On the other hand I completely agree with the testing of competence issue.

  3. “…The fact that the profession exempts its practitioners from self-funded CME requirements…”
    That’s far from a “fact”. Indeed it’s wrong.
    The problem is not that no CME is required, but that there’s no way of testing whether it has been effective, or whether the doctor is still competent. Indeed, I retired from practice at age 50 for a number of reasons, at least one of which was my perception that I was no longer as sharp as I once was.