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How do you see the future of health care affecting doctors?

I've been advised my some previous college students that the cost of insurance is too much to pursue a career in medicine #doctor #pediatrics #medicine #healthcare #health-insurance #hospital-and-health-care

Thank you comment icon The future for college students who want to become doctors can be very challenging. The cost of a college education and medical school is very high as well. Unless you can get a scholarship or do a work program for medical school to cut down on the expenses. The reimbursement with health services has been very much controlled by insurance companies. So the cost of malpractice insurance is very high depending on what city you live in. Major cities have higher liabilities while rural areas are probably much less. So if you want to become a doctor, get the experience in the big city and then start your own practice in a rural area where malpractice insurance is much lower. You can always call a doctor's clinic and ask this type of question would be more practical. Angela Redito Ichinose

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Theresa’s Answer

I may be a bit old fashion, but medicine is more than a career, it’s a calling. The education is long and intense, but those who put themselves through this are passionate about providing healthcare to patients. Having said that practicing medicine will always provide one with some of the highest incomes of all professions. Salaries vary between specialties, private practice or hospital based, academics and or research. Insurance reimbursement systems have been changing for decades and physician incomes remain good. The profession of medicine provides a wide variety of work options in the number of specialty choices, and options on how and where to work. So if medicine is in your heart don’t hesitate to pursue your dream.

Thank you comment icon Your answer is great Theresa, thanks so much for sharing your expertise! At this moment there are more than 800 unanswered questions so I wanted to encourage you to keep going! So many students will benefit tremendously from hearing from you. Keep up the great work! Jordan Rivera, Admin COACH
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Richard’s Answer

I am a radiologist. Eventually, computers will be as good or better than humans at image interpretation. I foresee a time, when a computer processes an CT or MRI and sends a report to the doctor with findings and recommendations without a radiologist viewing the study.

In the immediate future, Medical imaging is growing with the aging population. Whether you are interested in outpatient imaging or a hospital setting there should be plenty of jobs in most cities or towns. It might be tough to find an attractive job in some large cities with medical training programs.
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Donna’s Answer

This may be true if you are going into private practice, but many physicians today join a group of individual providers in order to avoid the high expense of trying to pay for insurance on your own. Another opportunity is joining a medical group that is part of an HMO. At Kaiser Permanente for example, the medical group pays for the insurance of the physicians that are practicing in the organization. Insurance is a rather large burden for those that are considering private practice. You may want to do so more investigating in regards to Medical Groups that are part of an HMO.
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James’s Answer

hi brett,

i graduated med school in 1993 and have been a family physician for 20 years. i should also note that my mother was a registered nurse so i've been steeped in the medical field for most of my life.

i'll address your question in 2 parts. first is about the cost of malpractice insurance. second is about the future of the medical profession. (i won't address the cost of paying for medical education since you didn't ask about it. however, that might be most important of all.)

i've worked in several environments including private outpatient group practice, solo outpatient practice, solo inpatient practice, and as an employee of various groups including a large hospital group. i'm currently working as a "locums" doc. that means i perform independent contract work similar to a temp worker.

part 1. malpractice insurance.

although possession of malpractice insurance is both required and expensive for providers, it is simply another operating expense similar to the state license fee, board certification fee, and life support certification fees. in my specialty, family medicine, it's generally going to come to approximately 5% of your income. of course that varies wildly depending on your particular practice, location, malpractice history, etc.

about 10 -15 years ago the texas legislature passed "tort reform" measures which most doctors here welcomed. since then the cost of malpractice insurance has risen only modestly. but you might want to research what it's like in the state where you hope to practice.

bottom line: i don't know of any current provider who would dissuade you from going into the medical profession solely based on malpractice insurance costs.

part 2. future of medicine.

very difficult to answer this one. however, what we're talking about is a change away from the pay-for-service model.

some of the many implications for doctors in this transition include:

1. decreased independence of medical decision-making
2. decreased financial independence


what does this mean for someone like you who is pondering a future in the medical field?

first, being a direct medical provider will be less lucrative. some specialties will take a bigger hit than others but at this time it's hard to predict which ones.

second, independent practice will continue to decline.

third, the nature of the doctor-patient relationship will continue to evolve into something more collaborative.


i'm going to give you a bit of my own story that might help you a bit. when i was young my mother would say how the doctors she worked around or for were terrible at business. they would lose money to insurers, to lawyers, to employees, to patients, to hospitals, etc, etc.

i was hopeful of having my own solo family practice. so to avoid those pitfalls i decided to major in business management in college.

however, by the time i had finished college, medical school, and residency the prospect of opening my own office had diminished greatly. i'm not saying it wasn't possible. and, in fact, it still is possible. however, the obstacles have grown.

in that same time, the interpersonal & communication skills that i had honed during my business college years have become even more valuable in my interactions with patients.


so the medical field is definitely having growing pains. or transitioning pains.

i would agree with the previous respondent that many doctors are actively seeking the shelter of employment contracts to insulate themselves from those transition pains.

hope that helps.

good luck!
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