Las Vegas, NV — You don’t have to look far these days to find another story of a frustrated physician. In books, interviews, and even social media rants, they’re reflecting growing levels of unhappiness and even burnout.
A pediatric primary care physician recently wrote about how her dream of practicing medicine turned out in every day reality:
Despite my lofty dreams and expectations, practicing primary care pediatrics was nothing like I hoped it would be. My days were filled with opportunities to meet and grow with patients and families, but my tidbits of time were sliced into 15-minute increments. As my practice size increased, I was persistently pressured to add extra patients over my lunch hours before the day started, and into time slots already booked with other patients. The need to move increasingly efficiently sparked anxiety within me — I was halfway through greeting one patient before I was also surreptitiously listening for the opening and closing of the next exam room door to signal that another patient was waiting.
New requirements, expectations and demands have left physicians overwhelmed and unable to do the kind of work they most want to. At least in traditional practice. But on the floor of this week’s Consumer Electronics Show, nothing is at all traditional. The health gadgets and booths and devices point to a new healthcare experience for patients AND intriguing new job possibilities for their doctors.
For example, a San Francisco-based startup called CellScope is demo-ing a little ear probe that you clip on top of your iPhone camera. The footage streams into an app where you can view the inside the ear. The images are incredibly clear and interesting (in a huh, that’s what the inside of my ear looks like kind of way), but these videos are not headed for instagram. Instead, they’re being beamed straight to a doctor.
On-call doctors analyze the footage within two hours and can prescribe care – or assuage worries. This $79 device may not be for every family, but for those dealing with repeated ear infections, it’s a much more efficient way to access care.
Elsewhere on the floor of CES, wearables, trackers, remote monitors and other healthcare-technology magic are on display. Those new points of care require lots experts on the backend – and not just developers. They’re all powered by real physicians. Physicians who suddenly have access to a new way of work, one that may look more like what they dreamed about.
If you’re interested in more about this “disillusioned doctors” trend, check out our latest report on health. The 5th trend is all about this new reality on the frontlines of medicine.