The Minimization of the Physician, Part 2: The Brutual Facts

Know your enemy and know yourself and you can fight a hundred battles without disaster. – Sun Tzu

Dr. Bertalan Meskó runs the website, and calls himself, The Medical Futurist. I subscribe to his weekly email and it is really good. Dr. Meskó has some tremendous insight into the future of medicine. He recently posted a video with the title “5 Reasons Why A.I. Will Not Replace Physicians.” I happened to watch this video that day after I originally wrote “The Minimization of the Physician, Part 1: It’s Not the Strongest That Survive…

In Part 1 of this series, I wrote about how the tech industry is trying to eliminate 80% of doctors with algorithms and robots. (I’m not analyzing or estimating; I’m simply using the words of those in and around the tech industry.) So, when seeing the topic of Dr. Meskó’s video, I chuckled and thought to myself, “Well, before I publish this post, I need to see if he refutes anything I wrote earlier in the day.”

Here are Dr. Meskó’s 5 main points:

  1. We cannot replace empathy
  2. Practicing medicine is not linear
  3. Competent professionals are needed
  4. There are tasks that algorithms and robots cannot complete
  5. It’s not tech vs. humans.

I agree with all 5 points. But these 5 points do not refute my previous post, it only strengthens my position.  While I wish it were not the case, if doctors continue on their current path, at least 80% of doctors are going to be replaced, there is no doubt in my mind. 

All 5 points are very real and very good. It is naive, however, to think that these 5 points are going to stop the tech world from coming after the jobs of doctors. Saying that these 5 reasons will keep AI from replacing doctors gives a false hope to those doctors who are unwilling or unable to adapt.

To go a bit further, the unwillingness of the community of doctors to, as Jim Collins taught us in the book Good to Great, “confront the brutal facts” is why “providers” are – and will continue to be – minimized through the coming years as algorithms and robots begin to “provide” medicine with more efficiency and at lowers costs to their employers.

Ideally, physicians – those who are skilled in the art of healing – will espouse and engender Dr. Meskó’s 5 points.

Realistically, however, this is not happening. Realistically, doctors, or “providers,” have spent so much time with their collective heads in the sand that they are unable, or unwilling, to see the enemy.

Slowly, some physicians are beginning to wake up to this reality.

The reality is that providers must adapt and become physicians again. The only way to do this is by adding value in patients lives. 

Humans pay for that which they will value.

And right now, the vast majority of providers are not giving patients a reason to pay them.

I’ll end this post in exactly the same way I ended my previous post:

What value do you really offer to patients? 

What value can you give that an algorithm or robot cannot give to a patient?

If you don’t know, here is the answer: 


Without going into great detail in this blog post, patients want 2 main things from their physician: 

Time and Advice.

And until you can figure out how to give that to your patients, the world will continue to adapt and evolve without you.

If you think I’m wrong or would like to talk about how you can possibly adapt and add value, contact Impact Physician for a free, no obligation 30 minute consultation. Or, you can check out the following information:

  • The Impact Physician Blog – Topics that are relevant to doctors interested in becoming an Impact Physician, how to take the steps necessary to combine business ownership with the art of medicine to you find a better quality of life for you and your family, and much more.
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  • Become an Impact Physician Member. It’s free, but requires a membership, as membership has its privileges. As a member of the Impact Physician Member group you will have access to a lot of great information and resources about being an Impact Physician and how to navigate the complexities of business ownership, as well as exclusive opportunities. As a private member, you’ll receive early drafts of our new eBooks. The next eBook to be released is entitled The 4 Kinds of Physician-Business Owners (coming November 1, 2018).