Psychology of Success

What the Time Warp Reveals About Healthcare Employment

December 1, 2014

There was a time warp in the box from the garage.

To the unaware, the box contained only crystal stemware. But I saw a window into the past: The 1989 newspaper in which the crystal was wrapped.

Inside that time warp, food prices were dramatically lower.

Housing prices, for the whole house, were like down payments today.

Electronics prices were dramatically higher. A Compaq brand desktop computer was four times more expensive than a modern PC with many times the processing power and storage capacity.

But most interesting were the salaries being advertised for starting and mid-level jobs. They were lower than those advertised today, but not that lower. And they were mostly full time jobs, not the part time positions and temporary services jobs that dominate today’s market.

So, we have basic living expenses rising at the same time that technology is both advancing and becoming incredibly more affordable. And we now know that technology is replacing workers.

If there ever was, there’s no longer any safety or security in a corporate job, with more workers underemployed, or employed part time or through a temporary agency.

Yet at the same time, many physicians and other providers believe that there’s more safety in healthcare employment by a hospital or with a large, corporate owned medical practice. Why?

Robotization will reduce the need for labor. Non-physicians will be used by hospitals and large corporate practices to replace, whenever feasible, physician labor and even the labor of more expensive non-physicians: Witness the replacement of anesthesiologists by CRNAs, and the more recent protest by CRNAs against the expanded use of anesthesiologist assistants, AAs.

Despite these shifts in the healthcare labor market, there will always be a place for entrepreneurial physicians and other healthcare providers who seek to develop and expand their independent ventures. But, of course, that requires strategy, knowing where you’re going, and the plans to get there.

The alternative will quickly become the default position. Just get a job with someone else and be a bit player in their larger plan. Your choice.

You may think that only the past was in that box in the garage, but the future is in there, too.

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