President’s Message: Predicting Medicine is an Inexact Science

Henry L. Dorkin, MD “Am I going to get better?” “What side effects can I expect?” “How long will it take to recover?”

Physicians are often asked to play the role of clairvoyants, as we help our patients try to understand what their tomorrows may hold — often in the most difficult of circumstances. In reality, our ability to predict the future is never what we would like it to be. We do our best using the data we have available, our own professional experiences, and each individual patient’s unique situation.

Assembling this issue of Vital Signs — on trends, policies, and other factors that may shape the practice of medicine in 2018 — was similar. If the last year has taught us anything, it’s that we can’t always tell what the future will have in store for the practice of medicine and the policy environment that surrounds it.

However, we do know certain things:

We know that the voice of the physician will always be essential when it comes to advocating for our patients.

We know that conversations about the cost of care are worthwhile, but that they cannot be viewed without consideration of both quality of care and early burnout of physicians.

We know that medical education helps to keep physicians at the top of our game, especially as science continues to evolve.

Moreover, we know that our patients, the people of the Commonwealth from Pittsfield to Provincetown, or from Wellfleet to Williamstown, are worth the fight.

As we look toward 2018, the MMS will be there for them and for you — our members.

— Henry L. Dorkin, MD

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