Today we would like to address the issue, which was covered by CNN in November 2008. The report stated that nearly half the respondents in a survey of U.S. primary care physicians said that they would seriously consider getting out of the medical business within the next three years if they had an alternative. What are the reasons for such an exodus among family doctors and internists, widely known as the backbone of the health industry?

Here is the data from the survey:

  • Questionnaires were sent to more than 270,000 primary care doctors and more than 50,000 specialists in the U.S.
  • Of the 12,000 respondents, 49 percent said they’d consider leaving medicine
  • A shortage of 35,000 to 40,000 primary care physicians by 2025 was predicted

Reasons:

  • Overwhelmed by red tape generated from insurance companies and government agencies
  • Rising cost of malpractice insurance
  • Shrinking reimbursements
  • Declining income


Dr. Alan Pocinki has been practicing medicine for 17 years. He began his career around the same time insurance companies were turning to the PPO and HMO models. So he was a little shocked when he began spending more time on paperwork than patients and found he was running a small business, instead of a practice. “I had no business training, as far as how to run a business, or how to evaluate different plans,” Pocinki says. “It was a whole brave new world and I had to sort of learn on the fly.”

We hear from many health professionals that it’s no longer worth running a practice and that they want to change careers. Just like for Dr. Pocinki, it will be very difficult to start a successful career outside of the medical field. Physicians go a long way to complete their training, licensing requirements, pay the loans and set up their practice. Medicine is what they chose to do in their lives.

LaserOffers’ panel and in-house discussions have helped us realize that the fee-for-service based anti-aging and aesthetic field can be one of the better alternatives for family doctors and internists. There are plenty of examples to demonstrate that the transition is fairly painless and can be accomplished in a short period of time. Training is quick and easy. In most cases capital expenditures, such as buying laser equipment, can be financed, and the demand for anti-aging and rejuvenation treatments is standing strong even during the recession. Baby boomers want to look young and they have discretionary cash to spend. People on the job market need to look fresh and young during the interviews and are willing to spend about $1000 on their looks.

LaserOffers comment

We see a clear trend towards anti-aging and preventive treatments in today’s medicine. Physicians in general will need to move from the current perception of their mission in treating symptoms to preventing their occurrence,  from using drugs to extend patients’ life to making them more active and happy. Aesthetics will definitely play a major role in the process. We will come back to the subject periodically in our future posts.