The current generation of newly minted doctors are choosing lifestyle over career. Indeed the top students are choosing radiology, ophthalmology, anesthesiology, and dermatology. This is the trend of generation X and Y, who value time.
But will it continue? Healthcare is extremely expensive and each of these specialties not only pay top dollar, but also have great hours. Each of these specialties can be outsourced which is a concept foreign to medicine, but not to other industries.
Already some insurers are sending patients overseas for elective cases like heart surgery and joint replacements in well-run high quality hospitals for one-sixth the cost. Many of the doctors are US-trained. This trend can only continue as many of the insurers are giving patients a strong financial incentive, i.e. cash, to go overseas.
What does this mean? Already many radiological practices outsource their overnight call to other doctors to read at a fraction of the cost to have someone cover nights. Many Americans are having plastic surgery in South Africa, where not only do they recover at a five star resort, but also participate in a safari before they go home, which is still cheaper than staying in the States. With elective procedures in eyes and skin potentially going overseas, why wouldn't a smart consumer decide to get it done? In San Francisco, one company offers just that.
What does this mean for future doctors. Don't think your future will be so easy. It is very likely it will be much harder as much of the lucrative and easier procedures move overseas and the more complex cases can't be done because of medical complications barring travel. Medicine and healthcare may be the last industry to discover the devasting power of outsourcing businesses. Will patients opt for it? They have a very strong financial reason to do so and will.