Restoring the Joy to the Practice of Medicine

March 25, 2015
Bryan Vartabedian, MD


I see it every day. Physicians discouraged over the state of medicine feel that they are powerless over the forces changing healthcare and the practice of medicine. And it would appear that what I see represents a broader national trend. The results of a survey of more than 400 full-time practicing physicians released by Geneia show what physicians are thinking.  Here are a few of the most compelling stats:

67% of surveyed doctors know a physician who is likely to stop practicing medicine in the next five years, as the result of physician burnout.

87% say that the “business and regulation of healthcare” has changed the practice of medicine for the worse.

Geneia’s nationwide Physician Misery Index is 3.7 out of 5, indicating that scales are tipping from satisfaction to misery for those in practice.

But here’s another way to see it: Despite the numbers revealed by Geneia, I’m convinced that this is the most exciting time to be in medicine. Technology is advancing almost faster than our ability to keep up.  And everything about what it means to be a doctor is changing. This, of course, spells opportunity.

Physicians must seize the opportunity!

From our capacity to globally share and publish our ideas to our ability to actually make new technology, we are moving from observers and followers to creators. The future doesn’t happen, it’s created.  All of us have the chance to make a mark and share in how things evolve for us and our patients.  And all of us should be active participants in reshaping the way we see our field.

Calling All Physicians to Take the Joy of Medicine Challenge

I’m excited to be a part of the Geneia Joy of Medicine Challenge—an online competition to solicit ideas from U.S. licensed physicians on how to best restore the meaning behind the practice of medicine. Judging will be done by a panel of physician judges in combination with peer-sourced, online voting (Full disclosure: I’ll be spearheading the judging). The winner in each of three categories—the EHR of the Future, Population Health, and Joy of Medicine—will receive a $1,000 cash prize and one winner will receive in-kind Geneia consulting resources valued at $5,000 to help refine their idea. The Challenge is being managed by Medstro, a social professional networking and career development community for physicians.

Entries will be accepted today through April 29, 2015.  So if you are a practicing physician, log in to Medstro and bring your ideas.  I’ll be checking in and commenting on ideas as they evolve.  If you want to bring your conversation to Twitter, use the #joyofmedicine hashtag.

Big kudos to Geneia for sponsoring an initiative to bring back joy to the practice of medicine and Medstro for hosting The Joy of Medicine Challenge. This is a conversation that we need to have and I’m thrilled to be a part of it.  I hope to see everyone online.


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