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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Some observations about urology

Many urologists with whom I spoke are doing very well, yet our collective ill-ease is palpable. Fears over increasing government intrusion into our lives pervades our thoughts. As always, our Sisyphean battles with commercial payers continue.

Of the hundreds of urologists that I spoke with, only a handful are in solo practice. I guess I am bucking a big trend. I do not know if I can survive or not, but I do feel that my survival will be in many ways tied to success of lobbying efforts by large groups.

So I wish them luck.

Over the years, technological advancements have made the AUA meeting more user friendly. Courses, sessions, and lectures are now available on DVD, continuing medical education credits can be downloaded from the Internet, and the AUA now keeps track of the CME credits using bar code scanners.

Many, if not most, practices have EMRs. All have problems with their products and expressed frustration to me. However, all those that use EMRs see the benefits of the technology and just need to learn to successfully implement it.

Many of my friends and acquaintances are in academic practices. Most seem happy. Academics produces 3 types of doctors: the superstar, the worker-bee, and the former academician. Superstars have busy clinical practices, serve on committees, and give courses and lectures. They teach others and make policy.

Private practitioners in general do not serve in that capacity. I think this is because they are not invited to participate in policy making committees. This is a shame and a disservice to the very same urologists affected most intimately by policy changes.

I call upon the AUA to include us in the process.

Today is my last day in Chicago, a city that I love. All things considered, I find that Chicago is the best US city. I am glad that the AUA comes here very few years. My experience at the AUA meeting has been positive. I have learned a great deal, networked, and re-charged my drained batteries. Though costs of attendance at the AUA can get a bit pricey, the benefits far outweigh them.