When students aspiring to become medical providers are asked why they want to go into medicine the overwhelming majority replies, “Because I want to help patients and make the world a better place.” However, according to the 2014 Medscape Physician Compensation Report, surveys have shown that the most rewarding part of practicing medicine is first, being very good at finding answers/diagnoses, followed by gratitude/relationships with patients.
Less than 15% of respondents say that making the world a better place is the most rewarding part of their job. It would seem that at some point during a medical provider’s education or training, this desire to make the world a better place starts to lose its significance. This comes as no surprise, as many providers become overwhelmed with work and frustrated in their practice, and their focus on making the world a better place takes a back seat.
While many medical providers still find great meaning in helping patients, and take pride in their ability to diagnose and find answers for their patients, there still exists a great need for health care in developing nations around the globe. This is where telemedicine comes in, offering a way to connect medical providers to areas with poor access to health care. Not only does this allow providers to use their expertise to find diagnoses and help patients, but it facilitates this exchange through the ease of an occasional phone call or video consult. These telemedicine consults that take up mere minutes of a provider’s day have real implications on the quality of care around the world.
Doctors Without Borders’ President Dr. Joanne Liu implemented a telemedicine project that connected hundreds of medical specialists to over 150 remote sites around the globe. It is with these sorts of solutions where providers are able to do what they enjoy doing, in a simple way that still causes a significant impact on the health of people around the world, that we can move forward, as a global community, in the pursuit of better health. At the same time, medical providers are reminded that what they do is helping make the world a better place – which is not a bad deal.