About the author:

Howard J. Luks, MD

Howard J. Luks, MD

A Board Certified Orthopedic Surgeon in Hawthorne, NY. Dr. Howard Luks specializes in the treatment of the shoulder, knee, elbow, and ankle. He has a very "social" patient centric approach and believes that the more you understand about your issue, the more informed your decisions will be. Ultimately your treatments and his recommendations will be based on proper communications, proper understanding, and shared decision-making principles – all geared to improve your quality of life.

10 comments on “Healthcare Trends: Maximum Income and Minimal Satisfaction …

  • Howard,

    The personality trait that makes engagement in social media enjoyable for you is the same personality trait that gives you satisfaction from engaging with, educating, and closing the loop with your patients in your office. That can’t be taught, by the way. Either you’ve got those social skills, or you don’t.

    Now you could intellectualize this and give lots of business reasons you choose to practice medicine this way, or have pursued your digital strategist avocation … but basically, it’s how you roll. You find these things are emotionally satisfying. Me too, by the way.

    There are many physicians, and other professionals, who just don’t get it. Money = satisfaction, period. After office hours, don’t bother me.

    To those who seek greener pastures elsewhere: take a good look around you … the grass is always greener someplace else. Not to trivialize the challenges that you face in medicine, but name a professional who isn’t feeling squeezed these days. Lawyers? Businessowners? Teachers? Doing more with less is just a fact of life, and I would argue — as you did — that this makes gaining intrinsic satisfaction from what you do all the more necessary.

    • Great comment, Rhonda. I beg to differ on one point, however. I believe there are many who actually crave social interaction, but don’t understand how social media works. I believe many of those people can be taught to reap rewards from social media — just like someone with stage fright can overcome his anxiety with a certain amount of effort. Of course the desire to change must be present.

    • Great insight… there are many different thoughts in this area… but if you look at the response of Dr. Ronan Kavanaugh, a Rheumatologist friend in Ireland, I think he sums it up quite well. “Engaging in health-related activities on social media channels is the most important thing I have done for my medical life since completing my specialist training. It has renewed my fascination for healthcare in a way I haven’t felt since I was a medical student and doing so, has undoubtedly quelled a mid-life ennui with my career. It has transformed the way I learn (where I had all but stopped learning) and introduced me to new and interesting friends.”
      Engaging patients, or at least providing content and a feedback loop can go a long way for many of us who derive significant satisfaction from our online endeavors.

  • Very interesting post. Saying many of the things that so many doctors are afraid to say. I’d be interested to know how many of your patients interact with you over social media. Or do you mostly use social media to interact with colleagues?

  • Another awesome post, Howard. The path you’re beating through the underbrush is going to become a well-groomed trail with many followers. Sure there will remain many who prefer to stay on the throughway of throughput — put they will have to compete for their patients against doctors who listen and actually care.

    • Thanks Chris…
      Hopefully your prediction is true :-) Patients, in the end will lead the charge. They will use their arms and legs as the force that drives it. They will seek out and insist on engaging or interacting with practitioners who have humanized their presence and adopted technology and a social mindset that realizes enormous potential that social media and new tech solution can improve the care we offer, clear the windshield of doubt… offer a higher level of service and hopefully improve the level of care we offer.
      Thanks again.

  • One of the contributing factors to this mentality is the outrageous cost of medical education. Although I find it dispiriting how many med students seem to be selecting specialties with minimal patient contact, I understand that $200K+ in student loans may dampen someones idealism a bit. Personally, I think that the cost of medical education needs to be heavily subsidized to avoid distortion in the physician work-force. Another factor is the differential between procedure and office based reimbursement. In my day to day work, I get paid more for doing a bronch than for seeing 10 patients– even though it takes the amount of time a single new patient visit would take. I hope that the rising tide of health care reform, with its emphasis on quality and not utilization, may help address some of these issues.

    Anyway, great post, as always!

    • Thanks Craig … Certainly agree with you on the contributing factors. The FFS system is flawed. Quality must certainly be weighed far greater than quantity. Redistributing the collective healthcare spend to adequately reimburse our Internal Medicine and Family Practice colleagues is equally as important. I would personally take a hit and not kvetch about it. We need standardized approaches, standardized processes which are highly reproducible, save money, improve outcomes and foster patient participation and centeredness. Many of these exist… on a local scale. And they work! Scaling, however, will be a BIG undertaking!
      thanks for your comment.
      Howard Luks MD

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