100,000 doctors in school now will NOT go into practice. Why is this good news?

Why would 100,000 doctors currently in medical school not go into practice? Why would they turn away from serving patients and following their mission? And why is this potentially good news?

There are many reasons, some obvious, some not. I am shocked by the number, but not surprised. And you know what, it makes sense. Let’s look at the debate and review some technologies changing health care delivery — created by doctors!

In this post we will review this trend in medicine with Healthtap and Ginger.io.

According to several studies, summarized well in a blog by a medical student, Ryan Gamlin, on MedicalEconomics.com, the list is long:

  • Pressures of the post-ACA medical practice.
  • Conflict between doctors on the front-line and hospital managers minding the spreadsheets, the tedium of a partially broken system.
  • The lure of technology and its broader, and more innovative impact on patients and the healthcare system.

From the  NPR’s December 2015 story, “Siren Song Of Tech Lures New Doctors Away From Medicine” to a recent  in the Society of Hospital Medicine’s monthlyThe Hospitalist, “Concerns Grow as Top Clinicians Choose Nonclinical Roles”, the reason for not going into traditional practice almost seems logical. In many ways, this turn away from tradition is driven by the need of many doctors to fix the system, to provide better care and deliver it through technology.

First is HealthTap: A video and text-based 24/7 doctor-on-call service. They have great marketing, a great service and as they wrote to me in  an email:

“With HealthTap Prime, you’ll have unlimited: 24/7 access to primary care; Live video or text chat virtual consults; Medical advice anytime, anywhere; Prescriptions, lab tests, and so much more!”

HealthTap opening App screen:

I have not engaged with them, but every time I call to see my GP, and begin to have what I call the “scheduling wrestling match” I pause and think about the appeal of HealthTap’s on-demand health service promise. Whats more, their branding is simple and almost charming: “Doctors are making house calls again.” Kind of appealing when you find out you can’t get to see your doctor for two weeks about that nagging cough.

Even HealthTap’s registration is very friendly and ignores the technology for the human aspect of their service.

Diving into more specific condition management and support, Ginger.io app for mental illness is truly progressive and has overcome many of the reasons the adoption of mHealth apps has been so poor — the App is multi-dimensional and evolves with you.

 Conclusion: technology has taken over the point-of-care, but not always in a positive, helpful way. The idea that doctors’ have decided to embrace technology over practice is not as simple as it sounds. If they choose in-practice, they are less masters of their own fate that chattel to the hospital procedures and formulary that owns them; yet if they chose technology, they could impact entire population grounds and be the Agents of Change we need right now.

BTW, the future of medicine is either a bull to ride or be run over by…

Thank you getreferralmd.com for the infographic.



Many thanks to Ryan Gamlin (@ryangamlin), a former health care management consultant and current medical student at the University of Cincinnati. Also to MedicalEconomics.com and NPR being so smart and insightful with their content.

100,000 doctors in school now will NOT go into practice. Why is this good news? was originally published on Harbinger Associates

100,000 doctors in school now will NOT go into practice. Why is this good news? was originally published on Harbinger Associates

Does Biopharma “get” the role of caregiver? Do any of us really market to their needs? Ask 65 million people. (Part 1 of 2).

Summary: 65 million caregivers. Their role is often undefined, undeserved and undersupported. Are we as marketers, and as human beings, missing out on a key audience and the opportunity to engage with a key Influencer? Caregivers challenges are formidable — there must be ways to help. While this is an ever-growing part of the population, we as brand marketers in healthcare need them on our side — or rather, we need to be at their side!

Remember, when your branded treatment needs to be part of the conversation, a caregiver may be your best sales force! 

So, best advice: don’t reinvent the wheel. Check out the numerous existing resources (some examples in this post) before developing any strategy; look to partner for credibility and to tap into an already existing expertise. People are already doing it right: learn before you spend.

Let’s look at a recent study by AARP . In a recent study by AARP* titled “Valuing the Invaluable 2015 Update: Undeniable Progress but Big Gaps Remain”.

Here are some startling facts (with an infographic to add depth):

  • Family caregivers in the U.S. provided 37 billion hours of care
  • This is worth an estimated $470 billion—to their parents, spouses, partners, and other adult loved ones in 2013.
  • The total estimated economic value of this uncompensated care provided by the nation’s family caregivers surpassed total Medicaid spending ($449 billion), and nearly equaled the annual sales ($469 billion) of the four largest U.S. tech companies combined (Apple, Hewlett Packard, IBM, and Microsoft) in 2013.
  • 74% of workers at some point during their career provide care to a loved one.
  • Approximately 18% of caregivers say they are “highly strained” financially because of their care giving responsibilities.
  • 1 in 3 have no help at all, paid or unpaid, the report found.
  • In the U.S. alone, 65.7 million people provide care to an older adult.

Let’s not lose sight that these aren’t numbers, they’re humans. Armies of human beings, individuals, each with their own needs and story. This is what lies behind the numbers. Let’s use these infographic from 101 Mobility to show the burden of tasks and time:

What does this mean to marketers? First, if you are going to address and engage with the caregiver as a branded treatment, study all the current digital and offline resources available — caring.com, caregiver.com, even the BMS unbrandedwww.navigatelungcancer.com.

More on what are good resources to research to help define your marketing strategy in Part 2 on Caregivers. (Part 2 later this week!)


Thank you to: http://101mobility.com/blog/tag/infographic. Thank you to AARP for doing the good work we as a society need.

*AARP “Valuing the Invaluable” 2015 Report.

Does Biopharma “get” the role of caregiver? Do any of us really market to their needs? Ask 65 million people. (Part 1 of 2). was originally published on Harbinger Associates