The University of Texas Southwestern class of 2014 is celebrating graduation. Class vice president Amy Ho has shed her scrubs for heels and a black dress. She says with modern technology, med school really wasn’t too hard.
“If you want to do the whole thing by video stream, you can,” she says. “I would wake up at 10 a.m., work out for an hour or so, get some lunch and then video stream for 6 hours and then go to happy hour. It actually was not that bad.”
Millennial physicians like Ho are taking over hospital wards and doctors’ offices, and they’re bringing new ideas about life-work balance and new technologies.
One time, a patient asked Ho if it was OK if he recorded her performing a minor surgical procedure.
“He Instagram-videoed the entire procedure,” she says. “It’s not that a senior physician couldn’t do it — I think that they might not have the comfort level.”
She means comfort with technology. Millennial doctors want offices that are high-tech. Many have never worked with paper charts and they don’t read dusty medical journals — they look at them online.
“We absolutely consult Wikipedia, not the library to find the most up-to-date medical research,” she explains.
When young docs meet with patients, it’s a safe bet they’ll be behind a laptop or at least glancing at their smartphones.
This is a big change from prior generations.
“I think the physician patient relationship has suffered,” says Dr. Rick Snyder, a cardiologist from the baby boom generation and past president of the Dallas County Medical Society.
He worries that what’s happening with young doctors is like what happened to young soldiers during Vietnam — yes, that’s the analogy he used — when fighters became too reliant on technology and lost their dogfighting skills.