For today’s physicians, keeping up with change can be exhausting, while falling behind change can be career-altering. As an example, many primary care physicians have had to deal with shifts in public sentiment toward vaccinations, an issue that can literally be life-or-death. And while a quick wit and an open heart can persuade a skeptical mother of the importance of vaccinating their child, other changes, like growing scrutiny about how physicians think about prescribing antibiotics, signal an important change in medical understanding.
A recent article published by The U.S. News and World Report describes the tense situation well:
With fewer doctors having solo practices, health care groups or systems play a larger role in determining the standard of care. This can certainly have the advantage of keeping clinicians on the cutting edge, but incorporating changes at an organization- or system-wide level can also take time. Insurance plans often lag, too, covering services based on older guidelines but not newer ones. And patients – whether by choice or due to access issues – may also forgo recommended care or prevention services, from blood pressure checks to colon cancer screening. Still, even as patients face their own challenges and allowing for some disagreement among doctors on certain clinical recommendations, experts say it’s important that the latest, evidence-based standards of care are adopted in practice in a timely fashion.
In such a context, the physician’s task of adopting “evidence-based standards… in a timely fashion” can seem impossible. From new developments in the use of Telemedicine to the ever shifting landscape of state medical marijuana law [I would suggest linking back to an eQuote article here too, but it isn’t up yet. Click-backs keep people on the site though, improve SEO], today’s physicians are more inundated with shifts in medical practice than ever before. Below are just a few things to keep in mind as you try to adjust to the rapidly expanding future.
Leverage New Data Technologies
Information updates fast, and you won’t be able to keep up by just doing a quick Google search. That’s why the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality offers, free of charge, an app that connects physicians to updated data from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. Physicians who download this app can receive up-to-date recommendations about specific patients that are linked to a constantly updated database.
Keep on the lookout for new apps and other technologies that speed-up decision making or that streamlines workflow. Apps like Trello or Slack, for instance, can help you sort through your mountain of tasks while also collaborating with co-workers.
Let technology work for you, so that you can focus on giving great care.
Pay Attention to Social Media
While it may seem down-right unprofessional to pay serious attention to Reddit, this rapidly growing social media site has become a chief source for conversation about important topics. It has become so relevant to today’s current events that Barack Obama took to Reddit for a segment called “AMA” (Ask Me Anything) in anticipation of his 2012 campaign.
Reddit, along with other favorites like Twitter and Instagram, is a great place to observe the shifting tide of patient concern. There are subreddits—a sort of categorizing system within Reddit—that are specifically geared toward discussing medical situations, and patients will often take to it to voice their fears and concerns.
Be on top of public sentiment, so that it doesn’t take you by surprise in a medical setting.
Make Sure You’re Covered
Yes, this is a malpractice insurance blog, so we must talk about the importance of getting adequate malpractice insurance coverage. But it is indeed a legitimate concern that can directly affect the quality of care you give.
According to a recent article at Medscape, a new study linked state malpractice award caps with the willingness of physicians to conducted invasive testing for coronary artery disease. Those who conducted the study concluded that those who are less fearful of huge malpractice settlements are “more receptive to new care strategies associated with alternate payment models.”
As the future of medicine continues to deepen and complicate, it is important to make sure that you are prepared. Let eQuote start that process for you by connecting you to a specialized insurance agent today!