Editor’s Desk

Younger generation a gust in the winds of change

Peter Wehrwein

With their tech savvy and willingness to work in groups, younger doctors could shake up American health care, although they are perceived as being weaker on some of the "old school" virtues like a good bedside manner, according to a survey of Managed Care readers and other health care executives, conducted by MediMedia Research.

"The younger cohort of physicians seems to be equipped to practice medicine differently because they are so comfortable with technology, and their orientation toward group work," says Earlene Biggs, head of MediMedia Research, a division of MediMedia Managed Markets.

Managed Care is owned by MediMedia Managed Markets, a division of Icon plc.

There were 109 respondents to the 10-minute survey. The February issue of Managed Care featured a story about young physicians and changes in the health care system.

Nearly a third (29%) of the respondents rated the disruptive effect of young physicians on the status quo of American health care as high relative to previous major changes to the health care system. Still, a sizable majority (63%) thought the disruptive effect of young doctors on health care was moderate.

Rating Physician Skills and Attitudes

Differences in skill and attitude ratings of younger vs. experienced physicians

The young doctors were rated higher than experienced doctors on use of technology (5.7 vs. 4.1), willingness to connect with patients by nontraditional means (4.9 vs. 3.9), and willingness to work in teams (5.1 vs. 4.7).

But the MediMedia Research survey also found that experienced doctors were rated higher than their younger counterparts in several areas: willingness to work long hours (5.4 vs. 3.7), face-to-face communication (5.4 vs. 4.5) and friendly bedside manner (5.3 vs. 4.7).

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