A variety of jobs will face tremendous and never seen before challenges in the future. To be more precise: contractors.
When we think of contractors (at least in Europe) a physician usually not comes up our mind. The plumber across the street or the my best friend’s hairdresser, but not the physician. The job of the physician arose out of the hypothesis that healing people is an art, not a craft (this may not be true for surgery, I admit). But in general, if you look back to Hippocrates or Galen, those were not craftsmen, they were “healers” and healing, as some patients and fellow physicians still believe, is a form of art. Now, the physician obviously never heals, but is only capable of improving health by triggering mechanisms, by pushing into a direction but the actual hard part has to be solved by the body itself. To conclude: the reason modern medicine is not seen as a contractors job is due to historical reasons. However, the physician is a contractor (more on that below).
Now, as we all know, the Internet changes things. And the implications for contracting jobs are radical and especially for physicians they are. Not because healthcare professionals are affected more by that circumstance (that is “the internet”) than hairdressers, plumbers or teachers, but simply because they are not aware of it, whereas many of other professions already are.
Take that plumber for example. If my sink is not working properly then I have a plethora of options to solve it. Ranging from finding a user-reviewed expert on the web to various forums, boards and sites where other people faced the exact problem and are writing how to fix it and eventually, with that being my guidance, I can order all the stuff I need online and solve the problem myself.
That plumber comparison is obviously somewhat flawed. The body is just more important, and complex, than that sink. But in a very pragmatical sense, this comparison is not so wrong in the end – apart from the fact that no physician wants to hear it. Plumbers are aware of that fact, and when all those self-helping sites started they hated it as much as all the doctors do it right now.
Fast forward to 2030: Imagine how much transparency the evolved Internet will add to the physicians job. Patients will be more and more mature, every treatment, every clinical trial, every price tag will be evaluated and upon that the physician will be evaluated.
If you want to succeed, in terms of happy and healthy patients, then you must embrace these developments. So to paraphrase this posts’s feature image:
Your professional life must begin at the end of your comfort zone.