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Updated Masthead YPF 2017

YP Physician Reviewer Message: January 2018

by Elisa S. Gallo, MD

Elisa S. Gallo 4

January is an exciting month for it represents hope for the future. New Year’s resolutions abound, as people around the world stop to think about what they wish to accomplish in the coming months. For young dermatologists, this January offers a wake-up call.

This month’s feature articles in Dermatology World address the new direction the specialty is taking. “Pulling back the curtain on private equity,” analyzes the changes occurring from a business standpoint. While putting up a shingle after residency was once the way to go, today’s climate does not favor the solo practitioner. Even independent multispecialty groups are fading into the nostalgic era of medicine. Private equity firms — eager to capitalize on the specialty’s financial potential — are now paving a new model, consolidating doctors into interstate operating machines.

The hassles of business prevent many bright, caring, ambitious young doctors from actually practicing medicine. Furthermore, no one goes into medicine to sit behind a computer and chart. With threats of lower reimbursement should one not meet the government’s requirements to run an office, truly caring for others has become secondary to managing politicians’ interventions and expectations.

Individual practitioners face a second dilemma in this new era of medicine. This month’s second feature article in Dermatology World, “Don’t break the bank,” discusses the challenges of incorporating modern technology into a practice. Expenses for electronic medical records, software, lasers, and various gadgets make it nearly impossible for physicians not to consolidate and share the burden and benefits. Whether this enhances patient care is questionable, as doctors must see more patients in a shorter amount of time to simply generate revenue and cover costs, not to mention make a profit. Ultimately, it is the patient who pays the price.

Life coach Tony Robbins says, “Change is inevitable. Progress is optional.” As medical practice shifts from being patient-centric to business-centric, it is important that we stop and reflect on what we hope to accomplish in our professional capacities. Let us not forget why we became doctors. A new year presents ample opportunities to ensure that progress is made in the best interests of our patients.