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Monday, July 20, 2015

The Medical Student of Today is not like Yesterday's Buick

                         1939 Buick Regal                              2015 Buick Regal Grand National

Medical Students today are not stodgy studious types, and comparing them to a 1939 Buick and a 2015 Buick may be an adequate analogy. However they remain highly intelligent and creative. Many medical students are not content to stay on the track of internships or residency to enter the realm of patient care. Patient care is a new and unique experience for most medical students. The first two years medical students are immersed in basic sciences. Most medical schools attempt to integrate early patient experiences into the first     two years of the medical school curriculum  It however is on a very limited basis. It is not until  
the last two years, when medical students officially take their place on the wards and in the operating room are they exposed to the daily routines and demands. Some medical students experience periods of being on call. This is an eye-opening event after 8-10 hours of daytime activity they experience shock at being expected to perform well into the night and sometimes until the next morning.  It is not only a psychological shock, but a physiological shock as their inner diurnal time clock is overwhelmed after several cycles of being on call. This medical school experience is a mild form of sleep deprivation which barely matches what they can see and expect as they move higher up in the hierarchy of medicine. They observe their resident supervisors experiencing what will become for some a possible life-long existence.

Few realize that clinical practice after graduation is not the same as being in training. Many panic, and decide to enter less stressful specialties and will decide to specialize in less time demanding areas such as dermatology, ophthalmology,pathology,radiology, public health or even decide to exit clinical medicine.

There are many new distractions today for young medical students. There are new areas in technology and science that did not exist for M.D.s. even as recently as 2010.   More than that, the explosion of social media has enabled communications exponentially. Using social media allow student physicians to easily contact other users in different fields of interest, especially information technology, and computer science.

"Dropout docs" are becoming more common, especially around Silicon Valley, as an increasing number of young professionals forego residency for digital health opportunities, according to an article from radio station WESM. For instance, Stanford and the University of California-San Francisco have the lowest rates of medical students pursing residency after medical school, at 65 percent and 79 percent, respectively, the article notes.

One student who moved away from medical work and into the health IT space, did so because her mind wandered during rounds about how to make improvements to the process and how to more fully make patients a part of their care. The student, Amanda Angelotti, later chose not to pursue residency but joined digital health accelerator Rock Health as a researcher and writer.
Many other medical students who spoke with WESM said the current system is designed to make it easier for the provider, but not necessarily for the patient. Students exposed to entrepreneurship during medical school feel the pull of technology, and many felt they were spending too little time actually providing care for patients, according to the article.
At the same time, digital health companies can provide a wealth of opportunities for new med students. Digital health funding in the first half of 2015 surpassed $2 billion, keeping close pace with 2014, which was a record-breaking year for the industry, Rock Health recently reported. The company also has teamed up with Brigham and Women's Hospital in a three-year partnership to bring digital health innovations to the hospital.

"The reality is that most medical schools are teaching the same way they did 100 ago," Wyatt Decker, chief executive of the Mayo Clinic's operations in Arizona, toldThe Wall Street Journal. "It's time to blow up that model and ask, 'How do we want to train tomorrow's doctors?'"

In addition to medical classes like the one at NYU, colleges and universities also are offering degrees and certificates in health information technology. The courses focus on the most current trends in health care IT--from health IT policy to data analytics. They offer students the opportunity to begin work as health care IT professionals or to take their careers to a new level.   Organizations including the American Medical Association also are creating initiatives to further curriculum. The AMA developed an initiative called Accelerating Change in Medical Education to give $1 million to 11 schools to help fund novel programs, according to the article.

At the same time, roles in the health care industry overall are changing because of technology and these changes require that all players become tech-savvy.

The demand for 'dropout docs" is high in technology circles since medical personel have a skill set that is unique. They are the work force for whom HIT must be designed. Many are being scooped up by startups such as Rock Health, Vida, Iodine,

To learn more:

check out the article

Siren Song Of Tech Lures New Doctors Away From Medicine

In addition to that, medical schools have added new technology to their curriculum to prepare them to use electronic health records, and fully utilize mobile health, portals,, and telemedicine. Most are already computer literate because of earlier exposure in high school and college. Many have experience dating back to pre-school and early K-8 use of computers.

As the health care workforce grapples with using new technologies proliferating the market, medical schools are taking steps to make sure those entering the industry are prepared for new innovation.

Some courses schools are taking on include real-life exercise that make use of tech, according to an article at theWall Street Journal.
One example is a course at New York University School of Medicine on a database that tracks hospital admissions and charges in the state. The class allows students to talk about price differences for procedures throughout New York.
"This isn't a textbook exercise. This is real life and students love it," Marc Triola, NYU's associate dean for educational informatics, tells WSJ.

Many schools are still teaching in traditional ways, and medical educators say it is time to innovate.

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