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7 Features of the New Generation of Physicians

For the last 4 years, I’ve been teaching medical and public health students about the use of social media and generally digital technologies in medicine and healthcare and I got a good picture of what kind of medical professionals they would become soon. They represent the new generation of physicians.

Here are my points and observations:

  1. They are technophile. I remember the time when there was no internet, I remember the first website I first saw online. They were born into the technology and internet-based world. For them, websites, Facebook, Twitter and blogs represent the basics. They love gadgets and devices.
  2. They are fast. They use smartphones, read news online, follow blogs and know what RSS is, they are familiar with multi-tasking. They are much faster than the previous generations therefore they need different tools and solutions in their work.
  3. But they use the technology for non-professional purposes. Even if they know a lot about social media, they use it like everyone else outside medicine. As long as they don’t have professional motivation regarding the use of social media, they keep on using it for personal reasons. We must help them find the way to use the web in an optimal and efficient way.
  4. They like balance. They don’t want to become “Gods’ for the patients even if they are trained like that and hate hierarchy. They soon realized common hierarchies are missing in the online world and what matters is the quality of work you do (just see Wikipedia). They need informed patients and want to work with e-patients. They are not afraid of them as they see such patients day by day in the circles of their families, friends and relatives. For them, the concept of being an empowered and enabled patient is absolutely not new.
  5. They live on the internet. They not only accept the dominance of the online world in almost all processess and activities, but it’s so natural for them. They have been doing banking, messaging, reading, studying and even shopping online in their entire life. It’s obvious they want to use the internet when practicing medicine and they don’t really understand why they cannot use it right now in many areas of medicine.
  6. They are mobile. They don’t feel they should stay in one place and they are not afraid of moving to new places or even countries. They are also mobile because of their smartphones through which they are connected all the time to those who are important to them and to the information they need.
  7. They are the future. And as it strikes me, they don’t even know it (fortunately). They just want to use the online word in medicine and healthcare as well.

I’m trying to help them become better doctors who can meet the specific needs of e-patients, the new generation of patients. In this long process, I will make my course totally online this January. So then any students, medical professionals or e-patients could take and finish my course and know more about the medical segments of social media and the entire world wide web.

More details later!

21 Comments Post a comment
  1. Meghan #

    Just curious, as I agree and understand your points above, how do you think these observations stand up against “delays” in EHR adoption? From your perspective, would this upcoming workforce become more prone to CDI specialists (or medical scribes) rather than documentation improvement technologies (or smart phone apps)? The delays in health IT adoption may challenge these takeaways, though again — I can see the insight that you’re revealing to the blogosphere. I would like to better understand the direction that care coordination may take, as you see it, with the faster, tech-savvy physicians.

    November 21, 2011
  2. Come meet the author of this post and many others at where he’ll be happy to give his views, as a boardmember, partner, keynote. Cheers Berci.

    November 22, 2011
  3. Meghan, I think the delay depends on the physicians practicing now and not on all these young doctors.

    November 22, 2011
  4. Great Observations Bertholan, thanks for that. It poses some hope to future developments of care. I do expect a lot of that!
    What I would be interested in too, is to know how you perceive these features to be stable, or not. I would think they will somehow mix in a personal way for a specific individual. So, I guess, that I would expect certain personal profiles to come up. Maybe you can think of such when you will process your observations further. I look forward to that and thanks in advance!

    November 22, 2011
  5. That’s the problem, Rob, it’s impossible to determine the stability as these features vary person by person.

    November 22, 2011
  6. Indeed, I suspected it. But anyway, in themselves they appear promising. The question is how they do persevere over their career development. It would be great when you would discuss this with a group and share your conclusions??

    November 22, 2011
  7. That’s a good idea, I’ll ask former students who finished the course.

    November 22, 2011
  8. excellent. intelligent cure.

    November 22, 2011
  9. Thanks for sharing these insights, they are brilliant & apt. Keep posted on the online course, as I personally feel its a great idea and the need of the hour too,

    November 23, 2011
  10. The question is how they do persevere over their career development.

    November 24, 2011
  11. Great insights…
    With regards to EHR adoption and adoption of social technologies, we r still at the point where we are comparing apples to oranges. Until large scale HIEs proliferate, EMRs will simply remain siloed and tethered cousins of the std paper chart.

    Those of us who understand the digital landscape and how it can aid us in helping our patients and the public at large continue to see the big picture– but work within our own little microcosm. As more and more physicians are exposed to and convert to utilizing social and digital technologies and the IT infrastructure needed for the true benefits of EMRs can be realized…I imagine that adoption rates will ramp up as well.

    Care coordination utilizing social and dig tech , at least in US will also require significant reforms on the payor side to incent many docs who remain on the sidelines to engage.

    Then there are those of us who are simply passionate about our work and the health of our patients– and we r utilizing these technologies at a rapidly progressing pace simply because we perceive it is the “right thing to do”
    All IMHO.

    November 25, 2011
  12. Great news! I’ll definitely be there when you launch your course online

    November 25, 2011
  13. We also share and connect with each other at and beyond medical conferences and society meetings using social media moving beyond the silos of medical institutions.

    November 27, 2011
  14. Excellent post! I just have one question: What exactly is an “e-patient”? Is that someone who posts health-related questions in open online forums hoping that a physician responds to them?

    December 2, 2011
  15. Editor #

    Reblogged this on Health Care Social Media Monitor.

    July 15, 2012

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. 7 Features of the New Generation of Physicians according to Dr Mesko | Doctor Insulin
  2. Healthcare Social Media Week in Review: November 28, 2011
  3. Top Medical Social Media Stories of 2011: Month by Month « ScienceRoll
  4. Bertalan “Berci” Mesko – the MDigital Life Interview | Common Sense
  5. 7 Features of the New Generation of Physicians @helenbevan @Medici_Manager @timkastelle « Carlo Favaretti

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