According to a recent ZS Associates survey, the number of US sales reps has decreased 10% since 2007. We now have 92,000 pharma sales representatives and the prediction is that it will continue to drop to 75,000 by 2012. With all the recent news about mergers, I wonder how that will impact these numbers. Many doctors are unwilling to see sales reps, so pharma/biotech/medical device companies are looking for alternative ways to send their marketing messages. e-marketing has been one of these options that many companies have embraced.
What does it mean to be a medical writer? I encounter this question quite often. Medical writing is about as broad as the world of medicine. If you become a doctor, you may be an internist, a dermatologist, a radiologist, or a surgeon. All these specialties are quite unique and very different.
The world of medical writing is also quite vast. You may get involved in regulatory and safety reports. Want to write research protocols? Do you enjoy marketing? How about writing some promotional pieces? Then you have the world of certified CME which is NOT promotional. Medical writers can also get involved in writing chapters within textbooks. If you're familiar with health literacy issues, then check out consumer health and patient education. There are many opportunities in various consumer-friendly websites, but you have to write at a 6th grade literacy level. The term "ghost writing" is frowned upon in the medical industry, so don't brag about your ghost writing experience. Finally, there's the world of blogging. Some medical writers have been very successful as bloggers.
The state of Massachusetts has seen an impressive uptake of health IT because of incentives from health plans and a state-mandated deadline to have computerized physician order entry (CPOE) implemented in all hospitals within four years. Plus, with all those medical universities like Harvard, Tufts, Boston University, and U Mass Amherst, you have a state with a huge resource of technologists and scientists developing EHRs that are tailored for their health systems.
Pharm Country Career Fair Monday, March 30, 2009, 2pm to 7pm Radisson Valley Forge King of Prussia, Pennsylvania
Looks like you can get information about business school if you're interested in getting an MBA during these difficult economic times.
Aerotek Scientific, LLC Almac Clinical Technologies CSL Behring Fox School of Business - Temple University Globus Medical, Inc. Merck Research Laboratories Morphotek Octagon Research Solutions, Inc. Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Shire Siegfried (USA), Inc.
Why do I write about non-clinical opportunities for physicians? After all, I may be helping others who will may be competing against me for certain job positions, right? If I help, educate, and train all these doctors, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, pharmacists, and nurses to fill non-clinical roles, then what will I do when it comes time for me to make a transition? What's the purpose of this site?
Well, I think one of the main reasons why I have this site is so that I can help those who feel lost during that time of transition. I've seen many people go through medical school, hate clinical medicine, and realize that they need other options. They feel lost and confused. They need someone to talk to, but they're unable to find the right person who can provide advice, guidance, and counseling. I hope to provide some of that help to individuals who seek information. I recognize that I can't answer all the questions that come my way, but I'm well connected with other physicians who may be able to help. I want to help. After all, isn't that what made us pursue medicine in the first place?
No, not the romantic type of matchmaking so please don't start getting any strange ideas. I met a medical school graduate who had some questions about life as an MD/JD. You don't have to be an MD/JD to understand legal medicine - there are some expert witness physicians who know the legal system inside and out. Since I don't have a law degree, I didn't feel qualified to answer the questions I was being asked. So, I directed this person to an MD/JD who I knew and did some matchmaking as a professional courtesy. The world of legal medicine is very broad and unless you've worked as a physician attorney, I don't think you'll have the right type of perspective to give advice and direction. LinkedIn is a great social network where you can meet and help other people.
I admit, I haven't been a huge user of Twitter. However, I've recently been bitten by the Twitter bug and I've started to explore the world of Twitter. If you care to follow me, then click here: http://twitter.com/DrJosephKim
The title says it all. According to a recent survey conducted among ACPE members, the use of health IT has doubled compared to five years ago. About 1,000 members participated and roughly 65% report using an electronic health record (EHR). So, is this reflective of other physicians? Or, do physician executives have a stronger affinity for technology and do they better appreciate the value of EHRs? If you have an interest in becoming a physician executive, then I would suggest that you strengthen your technology and computer skills. I think that future executives will be expected to have strong technology backgrounds so they can understand the full implications of leveraging health IT to improvepublic health.
In my opinion, two of the largest areas of growth will be in health information technology (health IT or HIT) and nanotechnology (especially as this relates to drug development and biotechnology). So, if you’re a “techy” person, health IT may be the perfect fit. Join AHIMA and HIMSS, get familiar with CCHIT, and get a job at Walmart so that you can sell pre-loaded EHRs on Dell PCs. For those who are in the science field (biology, biochem, chemistry, organic chem, molecular bio, etc.), learn as much as you can about nanotechnology. I studied mechanical engineering at MIT before the days when nanotechnology was of much interest to anyone. If I were to go through college today, I think I’d major in something that would be strongly relevant to nanotechnology (mech E is relevant, but so are many other fields like materials science, bioengineering, biochemistry, chemical engineering, etc.).
I've started seeing more non-clinical jobs posted on Sermo these days. If you're looking for a total change in your career, you may want to take a look at some jobs in medical communications, marketing, consulting, and pharma/biotech. The Sermo job board typically lists clinical jobs, but occasionally you'll see some non-clinical opportunities. If you're a US physician, I encourage you to join Sermo.
Because of the current economic climate, I think we will start seeing many different types of small businesses start to pop up everywhere. Corporate executives are getting laid off and many are having a difficult time finding a new job. Others are going back to full-time school with hopes that opportunities will be available when they graduate. Entrepreneurs are getting excited because our country is entering uncharted territory and there are some unique business opportunities. If you're a practicing clinician, you probably have more stability compared to people working in banking/finance/investments/etc. However, I feel that this is also a unique time for clinicians to put their heads together and come up with some opportunities to leverage the potential future needs/wants of doctors and other healthcare professionals who may face some major changes under this new administration. We all know that healthcare IT is moving forward with tremendous traction because of Obama. This includes EHR/EMR/PHR and other elements of health-related information technology. We also know that if some type of universal healthcare coverage rolls out, then primary care clinicians will have additional burdens placed on them. So, what are we to do? Start a company? Are you ready to take out a small business loan? Will the banks be willing to provide loans during times of such economic uncertainty?
We probably don't do enough to improve our personal leadership. The American College of Physician Executives (ACPE) has some great courses on physician leadership, but only a small percentage of US physicians are members of ACPE. Even a smaller percentage are pursing a master's degree in either medical management (MMM) or business administration (MBA). So, if you can't enroll in a degree program, then you may want to try either Dale Carnegie Training or Fred Pryor Seminars & CareerTrack. Participation in these courses can strengthen your career and also help you refine important leadership skills.
The 29th Annual Medical Communications Conference is about to occur in Santa Ana Pueblo, New Mexico. The conference is presented by the AMA and this year, the National Association of Medical Communicator (NAMC) members have voted and the board members moved to officially nominate Dr. Sanjay Gupta for the first annual Health Communications Achievement Award. I've never attended this conference that started back in 1980, but I hope to some day.
According to the Associated Press, the HHS announced that David Blumenthal, MD, MPP, will serve as national coordinator for health information technology (health IT). He has done a considerable amount of research on health IT issues so I'm eager to see how he will direct the future of health IT in this country. Congratulations to Dr. Blumenthal!Health IT is a growing industry and there are many opportunities for clinicians in this space.
According to the American Medical Group Association (AMGA) 2008 Medical Group Compensation and Financial Survey, physician pay went up in 2007 by roughly 3.5%. According to this report, medical specialties that experienced the lowest increases included allergy medicine, endocrinology, pulmonary medicine and emergency medicine. With Medicare reimbursement decreasing and managed care organizations trying to push pay-for-performance (P4P) and other initiatives, physician payment is all over the map for various specialties. The survey was conducted among 44,000 health care providers, 2,700 medical groups, and 116 specialties in the United States.
There are many types of publications for executives working in the pharmaceutical industry. One magazine/journal is simply titled, "Pharmaceutical Executive" and is published by Advanstar Communications. Care to take a look at it? Using Nxtbook Media technology (e-publishing/digital publishing), they have published the March issue here:
Take a look and see what's happening in the pharmaceutical industry. There are many corporate changes occurring. Jobs are responsibilities are evolving and companies are trying to adapt to all this change.
Healthcare IT News is published in partnership with HIMSS. Although I'm not looking for a new job, I like to glance at the job posts and see what's going on the health IT sector. Currently, many of the advertised job opportunities appear to be for health IT consultants who have extensive experience and expertise in the EMR/EHR space. People are looking for integration consultants, clinical documentation consultants, clinical systems analysts, and more. Expect to travel if you get hired as a consultant. Some of the job descriptions indicate "ability to travel 100%." Sounds like fun if you're single, but not if you have a family.
The Master of Science in Medical Informatics at Northwestern University is offered in partnership with the Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University. This program is offered online and seems like it's a terrific program. When I was applying to colleges, I applied to Northwestern as my 2nd choice college. Since I got accepted to MIT, I went to Boston. But sometimes I wonder how my life would have turned out if I had gone to Chicago instead of Boston. I suppose I'll never know. Speaking of MIT, they actually offer a program in biomedical informatics through the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology (HST). If I could go back to MIT to study, I think I'd be torn between the biomedical informatics program and an MBA program at the Sloan School of Management. Maybe someday they will develop a joint curriculum that will be a joint MBA/MS for people who have a strong interest in business and biomedical informatics.
Careers in medical informatics are very broad and include areas like: health care administration; management; consulting; health IT; public health; research; academia; and much more.
How do you pronounce ABQAURP? It stands for the American Board of Quality Assurance and Utilization Review Physicians. They offer Health Care Quality and Management (HCQM) Certification through an online study course and then a certification exam. Once certified, you can hang a certificate that says, "Diplomate of the American Board of Quality Assurance and Utilization Review Physicians, Inc." The ABQAURP is the only Health Care Quality and Management organization with an exam developed, administered, and evaluated through the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME). So, you may want to learn more if you have an interest in working in quality improvement, utilization management, managed care, risk management, case management and workers' compensation.
March 19 is match day for 4th year medical students. It's also the day when the FDA Panel is supposed to review the anticoagulant rivaroxaban (also known as BAY 59-7939 or Xarelto). It is an oral, direct Factor Xa inhibitor (I don't think I'll ever forget that coagulation cascade diagram that I learned in medical school). If approved, this drug could shut down all those coumadin (warfarin) clinics out there that monitor blood INR in people taking this vitamin K antagonist. Rivaroxaban would not require any blood monitoring. Plus, all those home INR tests manufacturers would need to look for something new to do.
I think everyone is wondering how the FDA will react to this new medication. If approved by the FDA, rivaroxaban will be sold in the US for short-term use as a prophylactic anticoagulant for patients undergoing knee- and hip-replacement surgeries. I'm sure the drug manufacturers will go for additional indications later on. Rivaroxaban is manufactured by Bayer and will be marketed by Ortho-McNeil Pharmaceutical which is a Johnson & Johnson group.
You've probably heard that Walmart is getting into the e-health record space by selling eClinicalWorks. This Electronic Health Record (EHR or EMR) is a CCHIT Certified system (for 2008) and includes a suite of several different options. According to the NY Times, this move by Walmart is to target small physician offices. Speaking of Walmart, have you noticed that they've gotten rid of the hyphen between Wal and Mart? Now they're just Walmart. Anyways, the bigger question remains: will more and more physicians embrace EMRs just because it's available from Walmart of Sam's Club? Plus, what about all those people who hate Dell computers? (I'm not one of them, but I seem to meet them all the time. Some people really have strong opinions about specific PC manufacturers. Maybe that will change with the new Dell Adamo.) With only 17% of the physicians using EHRs, there is a huge marketplace to sell and offer EHRs to those who may lack those strong computer skills. Once BestBuy gets involved in this competition, you'll start seeing a lot more of those "Geek Squad" vehicles around. If you're looking to break into the Health IT industry, maybe you should get a job at Walmart selling EHR solutions and acting as an EHR consultant. I'm sure that eClinicalWorks is bolstering their support staff and preparing for all those phone calls.
A student recently asked me if you had to be a physician to be a medical writer. The answer is no. Opportunities in medical writing are vast. If you want to write and be a lifelong writer, then you can excel in this field as a nurse, a PhD, a PharmD, an MD/DO, or even an MS in biomedical writing. Some medical writers also do really well with a BS or BA in scientific journalism or biology. You'll have more opportunities if you have an advanced degree, but it's not a requirement to be an excellent writer.
Keep in mind that many clinicians may start out writing, but then they advance into other senior positions that may involve project planning, team management, company strategy, new business development, etc. Others love to write and that's their passion, so they have no ambition to do anything else.
March 19 is the magical day for graduating medical students.They get to open a sealed envelope in front of their classmates and announce where they will be going for their post-graduate residency. It's quite an exciting day, generally filled with tears (of joys for some and sadness for others). It's ultimately the day when career paths are determined (unless you decide to switch specialties or transition into a non-clinical career path). For most of the students, the match is determined by an automated computer system that takes your rankings and then compares that to the way various residency programs ranked you. Couples have the option of doing a couples match, and this alters the algorithm a bit to try and match both of you in a similar geographic location. Some specialties work outside of the match. And, for those students who don't end up matching, the week before match day ends up being quite the scramble as they try to get into unfilled positions. Want to learn more? Check out the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP).
Clinicians who have a strong interest in learning more about medical informatics (or health informatics) should probably invest the time and money to get formal education in this topic. There are many different ways of getting this education. You can do a fellowship in medical informatics. You can also pursue a master's program. If you're looking for a list of educational programs, take a look at the AMIA list. You can also take a look at this University of North Carolina site, although it may be a bit outdated. There are also a number of online programs where you can receive an MS in medical, biomedical, or health informatics. If you can be disciplined to study independently, then you may find that an online program is the most flexible way to receive more education.
Here, you can decipher acronyms such as: DRG, EQRO, EPO, FFS, IPA, PRO, PCCM, PHP, POS, QMB, TEFRA, and more. The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) also has some additional resources about managed care that may be very helpful if you're interested in a career as a medical or pharmacy director in a health plan.
The Merck/Schering-Plough merger/reverse acquisition may hit some problems according to some because of J&J/Centocor and the co-marketing of Remicade (infliximab). Golimumab is a similar biologic agent that is currently in development. It is supposed to be co-marketed with Schering-Plough, but I guess we're not sure what's going to happen if Merck and Schering-Plough join forces. All these pharma merges/acquisitions are starting to get pretty crazy. Some are forecasting that thousands of jobs may get cut, but no one seems to be sure where those cuts may occur. I guess we'll just have to wait and see what happens here. These are some incredibly dramatic times in the pharma industry.
It looks like Merck will be acquiring Schering-Plough in a $41.1 billion deal. But wait, it's a bit confusing. People are referring to this as a "reverse merger" and Merck's top executive, Chairman and CEO Richard Clarke, will lead the combined company, but Schering-Plough will be the surviving public corporation. The new company will be called Merck.
A frequent question that comes up is: "What is medical informatics?" There are all types of explanations to that question, so let me refer you to an e-book that can be found here: Handbook of Medical Informatics
There are many different types of opportunities in health or medical informatics. If you're serious about learning more, I encourage you to join the American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA) found here: http://www.amia.org/
The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) is also an excellent resource found here: http://www.ahima.org/
This may not be the best time to be transitioning from a clinical to a non-clinical career. Even under this new administration, unemployment rates are climbing very rapidly. Within pharma, we see layoff announcements left and right. Pharma is also struggling because the FDA is being so overly cautious to approve new drugs. So, if you currently have a stable clinical job, you may want to wait for the economy improves to look for new opportunities.
Perhaps the only exception is within the health IT industry. I seem to see more job posts in that sector than any other right now. There is a growing need for better electronic health records (EHRs), computerized physician order entry (CPOE) systems, and the integration with personal health records (PHRs) like Google Health and Microsoft Health Vault. I've been speaking with recent college grads who have told me that they are not having problems finding jobs in the health information technology/information space. Hospitals are recognizing the need for more efficient systems and as hardware and software capabilities improve, it's important to do periodic updates to stay current and to ensure the maximum levels of data integrity and security.
Dr. Sanjay Gupta is the chief medical correspondent on CNN. He had been approached for the position of the US Surgeon General. However, he recently announced that he will not be pursuing this position and he will focus his time on neurosurgery and on his family. I'm sure he finds his current lifestyle fun and exciting - he gets to practice surgery at Emory and he travels the world to report for CNN. He has done an excellent job blending the clinical and non-clinical worlds.
The current Acting Surgeon General is Rear Admiral Steven K. Galson, M.D., M.P.H. and the Acting Deputy Surgeon General is Rear Admiral Robert C. Williams, P.E., DEE. John Maynard Woodworth (1871-1879) was the first Supervising Surgeon of the Marine Hospital Service.
I got a note today from a medical student who asked: "If I'm deeply interested in research and I don't see myself practicing clinical medicine, what should I do? Pursue residency? Get a PhD?"
This can be tough to answer because it really depends on so many variables. First, how do you know that you won't enjoy some type of clinical medicine? Have you considered all the options, or only the most common ones? Towards the end of the clinical clerkship years, medical students have gotten exposed to most of the common medical specialties, but they probably haven't rotated through specialties like pathology, PM&R, preventive medicine, and several others.
If you're absolutely certain that you don't want to pursue residency, then step back and look at your long-term career goals. For instance, if you want to do clinical research in pharma, then you probably should do a residency, publish some papers, become an academic faculty, and then make the transition. You don't need an MBA to be a researcher for industry.
If you want to work in hospital administration, then you'll need to have practical clinical experience. Hence, you need to do a residency to really understand the nuts and bolts of managing a hospital system.
My advice is always to try residency first. If you give it a fair chance before you pursue other options, because it's often very difficult to go back to clinical medicine.
The road to a PhD can be a very long one, so if you know that you want to focus on basic science research, then you may want to start down that path earlier than later. However, I would still encourage you to give residency a chance (and try to look for some creative options).
There have been recent stories about jobs in the health IT industry. Despite all the instability in today's economy, the health IT sector seems to be booming. Hospitals are implementing changes and upgrading their systems. Information systems and technology have become integral parts of the healthcare infrastructure. More and more clinics and hospitals are becoming "digitized" and entering the digital world of electronic medical/health records (EMR/EHR). Plus, more and more patients are using personal health record (PHR) services to keep their own medical records portable and easily accessible. So, if you're considering a career change or you feel like an entrepreneur, then pursue opportunities in health care informatics (health IT, health IS/IT, EHR/PHR, etc.)
There's a very interesting story on the NY Times about Harvard medical school and ethics as it relates to relationships with industry. We're primarily talking about the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries, but we must also remember medical device and diagnostic equipment companies. In any case, Harvard professors are deeply involved in industry-funded research and many of them are also paid speakers and consultants for several of these companies. Conflict of interest is the key buzzword (or in this case, buzzphrase). How do you resolve any potential conflicts of interest in such situations? It can get quite complicated, especially if you have significant ties to industry. However, I believe that it can be done, but that's not to say that everyone out there is doing it correctly.
There have been many stories of highly-ranked academic professors quitting their academic careers to work for industry. I think people need to find what's right for them, and for some, a career in non-clinical medicine is the right fit. I personally know several people who have transitioned from academia to pharma and most of them seem to enjoy the different challenges and rewards faced in a corporate environment. Of course, there are pros and cons to every decision, including the decision about leaving academia. The bottom line is that it's a very personal decision.
Boston University (BU) offers an Online Master of Science in Health Communication. For those of you who are considering a career transition into medical communications, you may want to look into this relatively new degree program. I miss my days in Boston. It's such a wonderful city for a college student. However, if you don't live in Boston, you can still get educated by some of the great colleges in New England. Boston University is an internationally respected university with a reputation for excellence and extensive research and ranks among the Top 100 National Universities according to U.S. News & World Report college rankings. Boston University is regionally accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Inc. (NEASC).
Have you heard of International Society for Medical Publication Professionals (ISMPP) ? That's pronounced "Iz-Map"
They are having their 5th annual meeting in Philly. If you want to learn more about medical publishing and wish to network with others in this industry, then this might be a worthwhile meeting to attend. The ISMPP also offers distance learning via webinars through the ISMPP University for those who wish to learn more about the medical publishing industry.
The theme this year is: Defining Professionalism in Medical Publications: Transparency, Objectivity, and Ethics
The ISMPP also offers a certification program for those who wish to be a Certified Medical Publication Professional (CMPP). I wonder if that's where those in the CME industry came up with the Certified CME Professional (CCMEP).
I don't like to talk about politics very much, so I'll keep this brief. I think the headline speaks for itself. President Obama picked Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius as the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
If you're a clinician and you have a strong interest in politics, it may help to get involved in media campaigns and local public health service projects. If you get recognized, you may find yourself on television and you may even become famous!
You need those triple w's (www), otherwise you may end up on a 404 (not found) or other dead page if you simply type: medicineandtechnology.com. In my case, I saw a generic GoDaddy page with lots of ads and links.
You can't set this redirect using Blogger, otherwise you'll get this error message: Blogs may not be hosted at naked domains. Many people have had problems using this URL forwarding/redirect within GoDaddy. I had some problems initially, but after some extensive reading, I found the correct configuration that currently works for me.
Here are the steps that worked for me and hopefully they will work for you too:
Set all these settings in the GoDaddy Domain Manager. Then, after you've set all these settings, make the change on Blogger/Blogspot to use the custom domain.
1. Namerservers (set to Parked)
If those aren't the nameservers you see, then click to change them to "custom," enter those namesevers, and then click to "parked"
2. DNS settings/revisions Revise the "A Record @" and the "CNAME www"
A Record @ 126.96.36.199
CNAME www to ghs.google.com
4. Enable URL Forwarding In my case, I set the forwarding URL to be: www.medicineandtechnology.com Don't forget the triple w (www) in that URL forwarding address Make sure you don't have a "/" at the end of your URL
5. After you make all these changes, go into Blogger and then enable your custom domain. Then wait a few hours or so, and hopefully it will work for you like it did for me.
The FDA has approved the use of Symbicort (budesonide/formoterol) for the treatment of COPD. Symbicort is a combination inhaler that was originally approved for the treatment of asthma and is manufactured by AstraZeneca. Like many other new drugs, it has been available in Europe for a while now.
As a member of the University of Massachusetts Amherst alumni association, I'd like to let people know about the Isenberg School of Business at UMass Amherst. They offer an flexible part-time MBA that is 100% online and is also endorsed by the American College of Physician Executives (ACPE). The Isenberg Part-Time MBA Program ranked 5th in the Northeast and 29th in the Nation by BusinessWeek. It is accredited by the AACSB and students even have the option of taking live courses on select UMass campus locations.
This is a 37-credit program that can be done over 4 years, but most students complete this program in 2 - 2.5 years while working full-time. If you've a physician and you've been thinking about pursuing an online MBA, this is one you should seriously consider. Each class will cost roughly $2,000 so that puts the entire program at roughly $25,000. At some universities, you'll easily pay over twice that amount to get an MBA.
So what are you waiting for? You can even take 1-2 classes as a non-degree student and then transfer those credits towards your MBA degree.
Because of the wealth of medical information that is currently available on the Internet, I often wonder whether physicians, nurses, and pharmacists are overwhelmed by educational content. Some content may be inaccurate, outdated or biased, but the content is there. Is there enough? Or too much? We all know that certain disease states attract a ton of attention (e.g., diabetes, breast cancer, heart failure, etc.)
What about the less common conditions? Aplastic anemia? Swallow syncope? More and more healthcare professionals are using Internet search engines to find the answers to their clinical questions, but are the sources of information accurate and reliable? Unfortunately, most of the time the answer is no.
At the same time, clinicans are so busy that they hardly have any time to sit down and receive any formal education. So what's the best way to learn and to stay up-to-date on current topics? Medical technology is advancing so quickly that unless you're continually updated with new information, you'll quickly fall behind and continue old practice patterns.
KevinMD has an interesting post about doctors potentially putting themselves at risk on social networking sites. Sermo is a FREE online community just for physicians and is one example of a closed, private social network. Doctors can post whatever they want in a closed environment, but if that information were made available to attorneys, then would that place a doctor at risk for malpractice lawsuits? As social networking grows within the medical community, these are some of the sensitive topics that are being brought up. I'm sure there are some doctors who avoid social networking websites purely because they fear that the information they post may somehow be used against them.