The Danish physicist Niels Bohr said that “Prediction is very difficult, especially about the future.” While it’s true we can’t predict the future, it is clear that the health care marketplace in the US is changing rapidly. To ensure that health care becomes what women deserve, individual ob-gyns must step into new leadership positions.
The changes in health care are increasingly calling on ob-gyns to become “doctor business persons.” Some analysts predict that in the future, up to 85% of physicians will be employed by integrated health systems or very large multispecialty groups. As this occurs, it will become more important than ever for ob-gyns to develop skills in communication, negotiation, finances, team building, conflict resolution, and strategic thought.
In addition, ob-gyns now also need to be “doctor politicians.” Recently, there has been an increase in legislation that attempts to infringe on the patient-physician relationship. These laws are often based on political agendas, not scientific evidence. Physicians need to be able to determine the best treatment for their patients without interference from politicians. It is critical that individual ob-gyns work with ACOG and other medical organizations to fight these types of laws. For more, read ACOG’s Statement of Policy: Legislative Interference With Patient Care, Medical Decisions, and the Patient-Physician Relationship.
Finally, ob-gyns must be leaders because we are best suited to tackle the issues that are increasing the cost and affecting the quality of health care for women. If ob-gyns do not step up to leadership, our practices will be run by administrators, businessmen and lawyers. They will be people who have never counseled a patient, delivered a baby, or witnessed the distress of an unplanned pregnancy.
Women’s health care is expanding beyond the exam room. So, too, must our roles. By becoming leaders in new areas, we can be sure to provide quality care to our patients now and into the future.