Emergency Medicine: A Sizzling Hot Specialty That Can Fry You To A Crisp!!!

Interesting piece. It seems that it is now commonly known, and even common sense, that ER Docs are burning out like crazy. We’ve talked about that before. The fascinating thing is that despite all of this, virtually 100% of residencies in this specialty continue to get filled. Year after year. What gives?

As is so often the case, the principles of Behavioral Economics can explain. More specifically, several of the most important biases that effect decision makers raise their heads here. The most significant is likely that decision makers “over value the present.” When coming out of medical school, getting an ER job is pretty easy. The hours aren’t great, but at least they are predictable. As is the income. Benefits in the short term generally trump (sorry!) long term downsides.

Risk of heart attack, diabetes, depression resulting from the shift work involved in being an ER Doc? No problem, says the newly graduated medical student. I can live through anything. Hell, if medical school didn’t kill me, nothing will. That is another Behavioral Economics principle. The bias of underestimating our own health risks.

I was just thinking. It would be interesting to do a study of doctors just entering residency in various specialties. What is their Mindset? What is driving them into their specialty? What are their expectations?

Bottom Line. Several pharmaceutical companies that I have worked with over the years have built up tremendous customer loyalty by “being there” for physicians during their training. What can your company do for physicians at their formative stage that would actually matter to them and would be acceptable to their institutions and would be legal under current promotional guidelines? Is there an opportunity here, or are all of those opportunities long since gone?

Think about it!

Do you have any ideas, suggestions, or comments after reading this post? If so, stop by and leave a comment on the blog!

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