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Friday, January 20, 2012

Medical Marketing - or what are we really doing?

Well, I am now at the stage in my book doings where I get to deal with my marketing representative as the main contact that I have with the publisher. And this got me thinking somewhat philosophically about just what has happened to medicine in the past sixty years. Now I was watching something on TV, when this young woman explained that her job was "vice president of marketing for a medical software company."
Vice president of what????

And then as my wife and I were driving back to our home, we passed by the construction of yet another Health Care Facility - which we do not need. This seems to me to be blatantly absurd. But then I realized that, "in today's marketplace" the selling of "Healthcare" as a purchasable commodity has become the norm. And we physicians are now referred to as "providers" or "practitioners." And our patients are now "clients" or "consumers of health care." Meanwhile hospitals and other "Health Care Facilities" now find that they have to "compete for their market share." Now I ask you, who let Dilbert's pointy haired boss into our hospital?

And all this brought back memories of my own father, and life on the mission field. Back then we were not competing. We were providing medical care for people who needed it - really needed it. Thousands and thousands of them. How there were real live lepers, who were losing fingers and limbs, and persons with the ravages of tuberculosis eating away their lungs. And I thought of the sixty year old woman, who was just in our hospital, with throat cancer, who can no longer eat, as anything she tries to eat goes into her lungs, and who now has no health insurance. There were, and there are truly needy people out there, who are not being adequately served. And all of this talk about all the billions and billions of dollars being spent on "Health Care" does not appear to be accomplishing anything.

What it comes down to is this: the interface between the person in need and his/her physician is still at the root of the issue. It has always been thus, and always will be. The whole money thing is very peripheral - that is not what makes a doctor of medicine. There is something else, something deeper, something more profound which drives us, which motivates us, which brings us a sense of personal satisfaction.

And it is this, dear reader, which I have taken on in The Book of Drachma. Yes, it is something of a daunting task - but it is there, below the surface, below all the machinations, which feels like that compelling urgency that drives Robert Gilsen. Like the feeling of springtime in the forest, with the warm, gentle breezes and the smell of newly turned earth.



  1. It really is something more than money, or a commodity, or a business, isn't it? As a patient, it can sometimes feel that you're nothing more than a task, a unit of work, for the health care provider and nothing more. It's refreshing to hear you say that it's really more than how the market would make it appear to be.

  2. Thanks for your thoughts, Cayman. Having been at both ends of this spectrum (as physician and patient) has got me really thinking. Now my own physicians have been, by and large, exemplary, but I can think of many who have succumbed to the world of marketing. And it seems as though there are more of them being turned out these days, which is a real tragedy, for I can think of no greater waste of a medical education than that.

  3. Hi! We were providing medical care for people who needed it - really needed it. Medical Marketing, Thank you for this great sharing.......