Arrogance and lack of business education in medicine

Dr. Osler was a physician who believed that dignified opinions in the medical profession created a destructive potential for the facts and truth about medical knowledge. The wisdom of his belief has traveled far beyond his time. In fact, his view of arrogant opinions has been dominating the medical profession far worse than one could imagine.

A profound example of the ignorance of the medical school education structure and the omissions from that education that have caused the disintegration of the medical profession for the last century is ubiquitous. Consider the thousands of physicians in our nation whom the lack of business education has financially tortured. Or haven’t you recognized the extreme damage it has done to the medical profession?

Can you admit that your financial education, which you never were taught from kindergarten through college, was never provided or advised about in medical school. How did you sail through all that, never thinking that business education had any value for your medical practice destiny?

Such an issue seems almost unbelievable—especially when we are all part of an elite and highly intelligent profession—and is something we all may regret later, in one way or another. I’m one of those physicians.

We can prove how disastrous that issue has become by counting the number of medical doctors who have lost their private medical practices for financial reasons. You may notice that no one keeps score on those physicians for some reason. Does anybody care?

If you cater to an open mind, you might understand that those statistics are purposely not kept. Who would stop thinking that any physician might have lived on the poverty line all those years? And only hoping to be praised for practicing medicine simply because they love improving medical patients’ lives.

The stigma and belief that we are in it only for the excitement and our self-esteem disappeared around 1900. When the living and professional environment changed then, medical education didn’t.

Physicians are increasingly being pushed to their tolerance level while practicing highly motivated health care and will soon disappear from the health care system, judging by the increasing attrition of physicians in our nation.

If you doubt that, then ask yourself, why are American physicians disappearing faster than they can be replaced with foreign physicians? Why aren’t American males applying to medical schools anymore? College kids are smart. They see how much abuse physicians are subjected to and are aware of the consequences of that abuse. Their avoidance stems from knowing that the medical care system is going nowhere today.

What’s missing? What’s the cure?

The 20 years of research I’ve done on the primary source of the disintegration of private medical practice have convinced me of the absolute necessity for business education to be added to every medical school’s curriculum for medical students.

That belief is further confirmed by studying what is universally understood worldwide by all business entities. For every business to reach its maximum potential, income, and value to the public, the two components of business education, management knowledge, and marketing education, are required. Medical practice is a business, so it requires the same tools. Or is that assumption too much of a stretch?

Knowing these things offers a reasonable solution to nearly all the present issues physicians are forced to comply with, whether employed or in private practice. If money is the means to reach your ultimate success, then the solution must include knowing everything about making money and doing it persistently. And that requires a good business education.

One could then assume that all USA medical schools have purposely refused to offer or provide a business education curriculum—at least for the last century. Why?

We all know that we need enough income to do what we want in our medical careers and lives—it is impossible to reach that level of income unless the income can be increased at will. A business education provides the steps for doing that.

The alternative that 98 percent of physicians have commonly chosen is that of letting their circumstances control their income and career destiny in practice. But other alternatives are available to every physician they don’t know about. God forbid, nearly all physicians in our nation might suddenly be caught up in a whirlwind of business financial knowledge and education that would force every medical school education scholar to look for new employment.

We, as physicians, are often confused about how quickly wealth arrives at our doorstep when we lean into prayerful thinking and acting. Even more curious is that a large portion of the Bible is dedicated to managing financial matters. Who would have thought that God thought it was that important? Have you ever witnessed a real miracle?

One hot day working in my yard, an old fellow came limping up to me asking for a handout. I agreed to do that if he would agree to wash my pickup in the driveway. I handed him the equipment and water bucket. He began with the hood very slowly, stopped soon, and began walking away when my back was turned. I told him, “Wait.”

I handed him the money we had agreed to and turned away. After about five steps in the opposite direction, I turned around to thank him (I had forgotten to do that), and he disappeared. I instantly checked to see where he was within 30 feet in all directions, and he wasn’t anywhere. He couldn’t have normally disappeared over six seconds out of my sight. It bothers me to this day. Was it God testing my compassion and response?

I keep hoping for a miracle in the medical school education curriculums. Dr. Osler was right.

Curtis G. Graham is a physician.


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