As the millennial presence in health care becomes more prominent, the climate of the health care system will inevitably change. Speaking from a personal perspective, there is a growing emphasis on lifestyle in the conversation of career choice. Medicine is becoming less and less of a life, and more of a part of life, a part of the work-life balance. We (millennials) also place emphasis on impact. We want to change the world, and the increased connectivity of the planet may let us do that. What is the next step?
With technology, there is so much information accessibility, which allows for cross-comparison in lifestyle amongst several different areas of career. This does not take away the passion for becoming a healing health professional, however, it does create a strain from the pure medicine-only focus.
Today, large hospital systems create a sense of isolation, less patient-physician relationships and increased administrative tasks. This process takes away from the art of medicine, the sacred patient and physician relationship inherent in the roots of the healing culture.
The perception that it’s a “poor lifestyle” added to a lack of connection and appreciation will bring more dislike, disdain, depression, “burn out” and suicide to the health care system. We (the health professionals) will begin to question what is the correct way to fix this problem.
We will ask, “What is the ideal change and the necessary change?” I will boldly state that the correct solution is to focus on you and your happiness selflessly. This solution is already starting to emerge, and it is becoming a movement — the ideal medical care movement.
We are reaching a point where our current medical model is not sustainable. This model treats individuals reactively instead of preventatively. This model increasingly inundates doctors with greater and greater administrative tasks. This model has increasing third-party involvement and fear of litigious consequences. This all leads to us as a profession losing touch with the point and the primary responsibility, healing the patient.
Our next steps are to reconnect with the patient-physician relationship. This step lies in conjunction with a shift in lifestyle-design practices. The ideal medical care model is already well described. If you refer online there are sites and podcasts that describe how to create your vision and be a happy doctor (which is being successfully accomplished by many physicians). This movement emphasizes how we want to live, by taking care of our patients and not forgetting our joy in the process. This method brings the power back to the healing professionals who have forgotten to find their balance before trying to balance someone else.
However, people may ask, “How is this possible?” How can we cover the tremendous amount of patients who need care if we spend more time on patients singularly? This change will not happen all at once; we are just starting the movement. Initially, this will all be blended. More and more individuals will liberate themselves from the controls of a hospital system, and start to create their visions. To do this, physicians will need to believe it is possible and learn to empower themselves. Once empowerment is achieved, they will build themselves up (mentally, spiritually and emotionally). Until they can be liberated entirely, they’ll run a business based purely on their creation, skills and ideals. There will be more and more interest in entrepreneurship, success building and goal-oriented thinking.
With the current amounts of physicians, all doctors switching to an idealized practice may not be sustainable. However, this will not be an issue. Every change has a natural ebb and flow where some will believe in the change and others will not. A natural blend of leaders beginning to liberate themselves will start and inspire more of the population to pursue medicine as a career (a population that would have once despised the thought of joining). Meanwhile, those who are comfortable in current hospital systems, or are not ready to make a change, will still be able to work in their present positions. It really is a win-win; those who are ready for a change will, those who are happy in their current positions can stay. The qualitative difference, however, by patients experiencing this new level of care will more than likely shift the market to desiring this new form of medicine.
The continued galvanization of our communities aided through joy-based practice will garner more interest back into the healing profession. More students will see the joy in helping others and will bring stronger and stronger interest into the field. These models also will inspire the creation of new medical schools and training programs where the well-being and sustainability of the health professional will be at its core. These schooling systems will implement powerful educational technology that will increase efficiency in training programs and simplify the process.
Technology will also be a very powerful tool in amplifying this movement. As with this blog post, social media will be utilized to display happy health care programs and ideas. The platform of how to be a happy doctor is already underway. I have begun to promote happy health professionals, to show you, the reader, the possibilities and actions necessary to begin your journey. It is not enough to see words on a page — tangibly showing what can be done is needed. And as more individuals see the different possibilities with their skills, they will want to work in a new way previously thought impossible.
Additionally, the ideal medical care model allows health professionals to implement processes without the need to gain approval from a hospital board or system. Regarding technology, new software and equipment can enhance the patient experience, improve efficiency and lower overhead costs. These technologies can be shipped or downloaded and be utilized in ideal medical care practices as soon as they arrive. This process will lead to a new wave of data collection and innovation.
The other blending that will happen will be a mixing of different healing practices on a much wider scale. It is now the current trend for more and more individuals to want other forms of healing modalities including acupuncture, hands-on manipulative treatments, herbal medications, homeopathy, etc. More health professionals will blend the western model with other complementary treatments to create a new style and art of medicine that has not been seen on such a wide scale. I predict health professionals will be able to blend these multiple forms of healing practices in one unit, and give patients new creative healing experiences and environments never seen before.
In summary, the ideal future will liberate doctors from the current model and will develop healing in the way they see fit, which will amplify their happiness and inspire many. This inspiration will lead to improved medical training, technology use, data collection and blending of healing modalities.
But, maybe … maybe this is all a dream. Maybe this is not what is going to happen. Again, this is an ideal. But for an ideal to be created we must first believe it is possible. I know it is possible because I have seen it on a singular level. And when one person can do it, so can others.
Therefore, I ask of you — if you believe in this ideal change, in a world where we can have joy in the field of the doctor and health professional, in positive change in innovation and in me — then go out and learn. Go learn what you can do on a personal level to enhance your life. Learn what your next step is in liberating yourself. If you feel happy, joyous and creative, think about the impact you can have on your patients. Reflect on your dream practice and think how amazing it could be for your future patients! Ask yourself, how might having this sense of control and joy allow you to better serve your community as a whole? When you find your passion and create your dreams, you pave the way for others to do so as well. Keep learning, go find mentors and start creating your vision. All it takes is the belief that it is possible and continuous action to make it so — everything else will fall into place. Remain vigilant in your pursuit. And even though you might not entirely believe in this idea, or yourself, know that I do. I believe in the dream. I believe in you.
Taylor Brana is a medical student who blogs at The Happy Doc.
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