THE TRUTH ABOUT DOC­TORS

UK doc­tors ex­press the high­est level of frus­tra­tion with today’s pro­fes­sional con­di­tions, but are most op­ti­mistic about the po­ten­tial of tech­nol­ogy to im­prove pa­tient care

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In a rapidly shift­ing world, few sec­tors have been sub­ject to as much seis­mic dis­rup­tion as medicine, where change is tak­ing place at warp speed. A ma­jor par­a­digm shift is needed to help doc­tors suc­ceed in a very dif­fer­ent re­al­ity. “We live in an era of pa­tient-cen­tric­ity,” said Char­lie Buck­well, pres­i­dent, Mccann Health EMEA. “While this is piv­otal, rather than fo­cus­ing on a par­tic­u­lar stake­holder in iso­la­tion, we seek a wider un­der­stand­ing of the re­la­tion­ships and dy­nam­ics be­tween all stake­hold­ers in­volved, in­clud­ing pa­tients, doc­tors and oth­ers.” Buck­well, along­side John Cahill, Mccann Health’s global chief ex­ec­u­tive, ad­dressed an au­di­ence of se­nior mar­keters from across the EMEA re­gion, brought to­gether to re­view the find­ings of a ma­jor piece of re­search car­ried out by Mccann Health, in part­ner­ship with Mccann Truth Cen­tral. “We are an in­dus­try of data and ev­i­dence, which we cas­cade out through pre­sen­ta­tion,” said Cahill. “Mov­ing for­ward we must make a ma­jor par­a­digm shift from pre­sen­ta­tion to con­ver­sa­tion, thereby help­ing the doc­tor to have a more mean­ing­ful dis­cus­sion with the pa­tient.” The study of nearly 2000 doc­tors world­wide found a star­tling mis­match be­tween the ex­pec­ta­tions and re­al­ity of prac­tic­ing medicine: par­tic­u­larly in the UK. When asked for a word that summed up the emo­tional ex­pe­ri­ence of doc­tor­ing, most doc­tors around the world said “frus­tra­tion,” but nowhere to the ex­tent of doc­tors in the UK, where three out of five doc­tors qual­i­fied their ex­pe­ri­ence as such (UK: 61% vs global: 39%). Dr Geral­dine Strathdee, na­tional clin­i­cal di­rec­tor for men­tal health, NHS Eng­land, and Dr Sean Cross, con­sul­tant psy­chi­a­trist at South Lon­don and Maud­s­ley NHS Foun­da­tion Trust, shared their in­sights in a key­note ad­dress. Strathdee told the room: “Medicine is a lit­mus test of what is hap­pen­ing in our so­ci­ety – what’s go­ing well and what needs to im­prove. The pace of change is es­ca­lat­ing at an in­cred­i­ble rate.” “Doc­tors feel stripped of their abil­ity to care by the com­mer­cial sys­tem,” said Hi­lary Gentile, chief strat­egy officer at Mccann Health North Amer­ica, who co-pre­sented the in­sights from the study with col­league Rod­ney Collins, EMEA re­gional di­rec­tor, Mccann Truth Cen­tral. Collins added: “We have an op­por­tu­nity to help doc­tors re­claim mas­tery in pa­tient care by cal­i­brat­ing data across the ex­tended health­care sys­tem to lib­er­ate doc­tors to fo­cus their in­valu­able time on care.” Doc­tors may have been viewed as “gods in white”, as one Ger­man doc­tor put it, but so­ci­ety now sees things dif­fer­ently. Collins demon­strated with a Google search: “doc­tors are…”. “Use­less,” filled in the al­go­rithm. “Dan­ger­ous. Over­paid. Evil.” In no other coun­try does un­der­fund­ing pose such a strong chal­lenge as in the UK, where 42% said it was the great­est threat to their pro­fes­sion (17% world­wide). UK doc­tors also claim more dif­fi­culty sleep­ing than their col­leagues in other coun­tries – 72% in the UK com­pared with 68% world­wide. And they are more likely to re­port mar­i­tal prob­lems (68% com­pared with 58%). UK doc­tors are among the most op­ti­mistic in view of the role of tech­nol­ogy in health­care, with 84% see­ing it as a pos­i­tive force for pa­tients (76% world­wide), and around half (52%) believ­ing tech­nol­ogy fu­els a bet­ter con­ver­sa­tion be­tween doc­tor and pa­tient, com­pared with 37% glob­ally. But doc­tors see the flip side, ar­gu­ing that UK pa­tients are likely to mis­di­ag­nose them­selves (73% against 69%

“We live in an era of pa­tient-cen­tric­ity. How­ever, rather than fo­cus­ing on a par­tic­u­lar stake­holder in iso­la­tion, we seek a wider un­der­stand­ing of the re­la­tion­ships and dy­nam­ics be­tween all stake­hold­ers” Char­lie Buck­well, pres­i­dent, Mccann Health EMEA

“Medicine is a lit­mus test of what is hap­pen­ing in our so­ci­ety – what’s work­ing and what’s not” Dr Geral­dine Strathdee, na­tional clin­i­cal di­rec­tor for men­tal health, NHS Eng­land

world­wide), with around a third of pa­tients in the UK fail­ing to re­spect the author­ity of the doc­tor’s ad­vice – a rate that is rel­a­tively re­as­sur­ing given that nearly two-thirds of pa­tients glob­ally fail to heed their physi­cian’s ad­vice (32% UK vs 57% world­wide.) Gentile and Collins laid out three key in­sights to come out of the study. Firstly, mar­keters can em­power doc­tors to re­gain mas­tery in pa­tient care, by shift­ing from prod­uct pre­sen­ta­tion to holis­tic health man­age­ment. Sec­ondly, as an in­dus­try, we need to move to­wards hu­man­is­ing tech­nol­ogy to ad­vance and power shared care. Fi­nally, there’s an im­por­tant role for mar­keters to play in re­cal­i­brat­ing the new ecosys­tem. We need to re­fo­cus our ef­forts on a broader ar­ray of health­care pro­fes­sion­als and cre­ate new multi-stake­holder path­ways to care. How­ever, more than half of young peo­ple glob­ally be­lieve tech­nol­ogy will elim­i­nate the need for doc­tors in the fu­ture. De­spite this, the ir­re­place­able value of a doc­tor’s fun­da­men­tal hu­man­ity shines through. In­deed, physi­cians place im­mense value on the role of hu­mour – es­pe­cially in the US, Den­mark and the UK, where it is cited as one of the top five re­sources doc­tors bring to the job. And, even with all the chal­lenges, seven out of ten UK doc­tors would take the same ca­reer path­way if they had to do it all over again, although world­wide it’s eight out of ten. “How do we help de­fine ‘doc­tor­ness’ in the fu­ture mar­ket­place?” chal­lenged Gentile. “Doc­tors are viewed as a life­line – can they be­come a life coach? Can they move from health di­rec­tor to well­ness prac­ti­tioner? From knowl­edge owner to knowl­edge trans­la­tor, and from a siloed spe­cial­ist to a holis­tic ex­pert?”

Dr Sean Cross, con­sul­tant psy­chi­a­trist, NHS Foun­da­tion Trust San­dra Gul­bicki, se­nior vice-pres­i­dent, Mccann Health EMEA

Hi­lary Gentile, chief strat­egy officer, Mccann Health North Amer­ica

Rod­ney Collins, EMEA re­gional di­rec­tor, Mccann Truth

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