Recently, I had the chance to poll physicians (and I'd like to thank all those physicians who helped me with this). It was an informal poll, but I wanted to know how many physicians were planning on leaving clinical practice now that the health care reform bill has been passed. It's no surprise, but an overwhelming majority of physicians were more determined to look for a transition into the non-clinical field of medicine. To some, this may mean a career in administrative medicine. To others, it could be medical writing or medical education. Some want to get into the pharmaceutical industry.
In the past, many physicians would have indicated a strong desire to work for insurance companies. That trend has changed and I think physicians recognize that career opportunities in the health insurance industry may be diminishing as the government rolls out a public option and creates some serious competition.
How will patients receive proper medical care if so many existing physicians choose to leave clinical practice? What's going to happen in areas where physician shortages are causing patients to drive several hours to receive care? More physicians may plan to retire early instead of hassling with the public option and with the electronic health record requirements outlined in the HITECH Act. Our nation will experience some significant changes in the health care world, but will these be overwhelmingly positive or negative for the public?