It’s estimated that by 2030 most physicians will be employed for hospitals (source needed). This has major implications for autonomy. This can be a force of good driving doctors to follow best practices and keep patients safe. But it depends on what the health system keeps as a core value. Many systems still value finances above all else. No organization can function without but we should be careful to distinguish long term success with short term return. If a hospital system prioritizes short term return then it will force it’s doctors into shoddy territory: seeing a patient every 10 minutes, reading CT scans in less than two minutes, or making interns work without supervision overnight.
What is a physician to do?
It’s more important now than ever for doctors to use their voice to speak up for patient safety. For too long that voice has been fragmented advocating for higher pay, less change and more autonomy. The largest physician group in Pennsylvania recently promoted an article written by a doctor calling for a retraction of the BMJ paper citing medical error as a leading cause of death. How does this help patients? What does this do to the relationship between doctors and patients?
For too long doctors have been pushing the government and hospitals for things that don’t help patients. We do have the ability to push our organizations towards positive change. That change starts with a new generation of physicians who have new core values.