The Disenfranchised Physician—“Due Diligence ”

By Bob Sweeney

June 21 2019

Our blog has been exploring the factors that are relentlessly disengaging practicing physicians from the career satisfaction they anticipated when they chose medicine.   Let’s take a look at a subtle but powerful factor that affects any and every physician practicing in or under the influence of a hospital or large medical institution.  That topic is the dry sounding but potent matter of due diligence.

Let’s take an example.  Your hospital wants to look at a way in which they could improve communication between the hospital labs and their patients and to reduce the errors and delays that are common in many, if not most, medical lab-patient interactions.  So, someone in IT or the hospital administration goes out to look at alternatives in this solution space.     They conduct a thorough audit of the technical platforms, run the numbers on potential returns, and check out the history and references of the vendors and their management.  That sequence of investigations is called “due diligence”.  After some period of time,  a selection is made and a set of new faces, devices and software pops up on your practice routine.

What’s missing here?

Did anyone ask the docs on the medical staff if the new service was a good idea?  Would it work as promoted?  Would docs actually use it?  Was the change necessary at all, given the costs and problems associated with change?

A lot of times, the answer is no.  It isn’t even a question of whether the hospital would change its mind in the face of physician opposition.  It’s that the docs on the line weren’t even consulted at all!!  I give you the electronic records industry as the prime example, but there are many more.

It’s hard to think of any other sector of our economy where the interests and opinions of the very people who will have to implement new solutions are routinely overlooked.   When was the last time someone in corporate asked you for your opinion on a forthcoming change?

We’ll be talking more about an enhanced due diligence process where physicians play a critical role.  Stay tuned.


Robert E. “Bob” Sweeney, DA, MS

Principal & Managing Director