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Patients Will Suffer From U.S. Doctor Burnout
Health Travel – Medical Travel – Medical Tourism –2nd Medical Opinion
Doctors heal, hospitals don’t. So, how important is it that your doctor is not a “burn out” and unable to deal with stress in their own life?
A Mayo Hospital study of 16,000 internal medical interns published in the Journal of the American Medical Association reveals that more than half of graduate medical students reported symptoms of burnout. (source: “Mayo Study: Widespread Burnout Among New Doctors”, 9/7/11)
The study suggests burnout and high student debt is contributing to students’ decreased ability to learn as evidenced by low test scores, according to the study’s lead researcher, Dr. Colin West.
Lower test scores of graduating doctors threatens your quality of medical care.
This at a time when the demand for more doctors is higher than any other time in our history due to the demands on the healthcare system of our aging population. You have to wonder, “How many Baby Boomers will be treated by burned-out physicians”?
One theory is to rely on nurses, e.g., nurse practitioners to take the load off of the growing “doctor demand”. However, just ask someone trying to get into nursing school, and you learn there is a shortage of qualified teachers to train nurses. And to make matters worse, colleges are upping nurse credentialing requirements and tuition fees to bolster their own shrinking budgets.
What to do About Diminished Quality of Medical Care
So what does this all mean for YOU, the patient? It means you are more than likely to be affected by lower-quality of care.
Whatever the politics influencing the long-term solution for the quality of medical care in the U.S., in the meantime, you do have a choice. Traveling for treatment to gain access to care by the best doctors in the world is your choice.
The Traveling4Health Community, a consumer reporting website, makes it easy to connect with subject experts who can answer your questions, guide your research, and assist you in the decision-making process. Although we are a for-profit corporation, we do not benefit financially from the free and unrestricted flow of information exchanged by patients and doctors.
Health Travel: Why it Makes Sense to Travel For Treatment
In the past, traveling for treatment appealed to the “masses” mainly as a cost-saving strategy. Patients began to take a serious look at medical travel when the out-of-pocket savings on medical procedures totaled more than $6,000.
Now, the value proposition of traveling-for-treatment will pivot on how much better off you will be if treated by the best doctors in the world, those who finished school with high test scores and whose expertise attracts patients from all over the world.
Mislabeling all surgical or medical travel as medical tourism or medical vacation is inaccurate. The wealthy have always been willing to travel to be treated by the best physicians, especially for major surgery.
Recent studies, like this one from the Mayo Clinic, cast a shadow on the quality of care we can legitimately expect from our future U.S. doctors who are testing at levels lower than in the past.
I don’t mean to imply that the U.S. doesn’t have some of the best doctors in the world; many are recommended on the traveling4health website, but no country can claim to have them all.
I’m sure everyone wants to believe their doctor is the best trained, equipped with the best technology, and has the mental space to offer the best advice. Aside from the fact that you desire and deserve a good doctor/patient relationship with a general practitioner, when faced with a medical diagnosis that requires a specialist – say an Internist – you need to ask yourself, “do I have access to the best or just the nearest doctor?”
You can avoid the pitfalls of local networks of doctors whose referrals are too often based on local politics by getting a second medical opinion out of state, for example from the Mayo Clinic.
It’s not difficult or necessarily more costly to get a 2nd medical opinion from the best, it’s just not often done, which begs the question WHY? Usually the answer is that patients don’t know how to find the best sources for a 2nd medical opinion.
You can get information and find sources to contact by reading the following related articles about the value of a 2nd medical opinion.
Recommended reading for the “doubting Thomases” of medical travel is “Medical Tourism backlash”, 9/6/11, bogatasurgery.org, by author and T4H member Kristin Eckland, an Acute Care Nurse Practitioner who specializes in Cardiothoracic Surgery.
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The author: Ilene Little
Ilene has written 38 posts to this blog. On The Water Series - Panama. --Note from author, Ilene Little, CEO of Traveling4Health & Retirement: For people who are attracted to living on the ocean, the "on the water" lifestyle promotes both physical and emotional health. Although the locations are specific, the topics are universal!
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