Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Dear Medscape and Duke University,

Thank you for your recent invitation to take my practice "to the next level":

Your five courses sound enticing, exciting, and insomnia-curing. I'm sure they're ideal for doctors who wear suits every day and use phrases like "reaching out," "think outside the box," "patient empowerment," "corporate values" (an oxymoron if I've ever heard one), and "evidence-based paradigm." They probably make more money than I ever will.

I like how the price is down at the bottom in the smallest print. $899, with "per course" intentionally faded, hoping no one realizes this ads up to $4495.

Once upon a time, like many other doctors, I incurred a large educational debt. I don't want to do that again.

I like what I do, and have no interest in learning how to be a boardroom doctor who watches Powerpoint presentations, argues about what payment models are best for the shareholders, and denies medical coverage that might cut into his year-end bonus. I'd rather make less money and sit at the bedside of someone who needs my help.

Actually, the ad gives me the impression that the best way to make money in medicine these days... is to sell educational courses to doctors on how to make money. It reminds me of an old SCTV piece featuring the awesome Joe Flaherty as a huckster. He said something along the lines of "I came up with a great idea to get rich. I'm not going to tell you what it is, but if you send me $100, I'll mail you a pamphlet with some other ideas I had." (I couldn't find it on YouTube. If anyone knows where it is, send me the link and I'll embed it in here. No "Doctor Tongue's 3-D House of Stewardesses," please).

I've sat in enough classrooms in my time. I'll stay where I'm needed - with patients.

But, I have to thank you. Because after reading your ad I've already figured out a way I can save $4495.


jimbo26 said...

But , if you are an expert in medicine .................... ?

Candida Gomez said...

Can we clone you? We need more doctors like you, kind and with common sense.

I suspect that those 'courses' would be considerably cheaper at the local community college, if you couldn't just find the material on the net.

I think the comic strip Foxtrot also ran the joke about the ($495) pamphlet.

Best wishes.

Anonymous said...

However, on the plus side - if you go ahead and take those classes and they're not online - you actually have to travel to Duke, then I'll buy you dinner. ;)

The Patient Doc said...

I went into medicine to help patients and spend time with people, but I feel in order to survive, I have to learn business. If I don't become my own boss, someone else will be my boss, and that someone is most likely someone who's never practiced medicine, and has no clue about what it takes to thoroughly care for a patient. I will be a pawn. That being said I wouldnt pay 5000 for this course.

Packer said...

Thanks for reminding me, it is October and I have 12 CLE hours due to be completed by 12/31.

Shellye said...

My favourite line in this post is, "I'd rather make less money and sit at the bedside of someone who needs my help."

You are truly a man of integrity.

bluetoothbuddha said...

Isn't it "thinking outside the square" now?

Pamela (LadyLuz) said...

Wish you were my doctor in southern Spain.

Really love your website....gives me quite a lift, regularly.

Anonymous said...

Got the same email! If I'd known I be in such company,I'd have proposed a counter-culture event for the non-attenders! They did encourage us to pick up an MBA on our way to our doctorates,but don't think anybody was that masochistic.

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