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The Impact of Changes in the Medical Environment on Physicians' Identities

Del Canale, Marco LU (2013) EKHR72 20121
Department of Economic History
Abstract
The study explores to what extent recent changes (in the last decade) in the medical environment impact physicians’ identities. It has been conducted in Northern Italy (Emilia Romagna Region), interviewing 16 doctors between specialists and general practitioners and linking their insights with the literature. Our aim was to relate the de-professionalization and proletarianization debate to an identity issue: we studied whether recent changes may have relevant impact on doctors’ understanding or not.
The rising of the Internet as a provider of medical information, the spread of guidelines developed on evidence-based medicine, the need of prescription savings and the clustering of doctors in new organized forms (Medical Homes) are... (More)
The study explores to what extent recent changes (in the last decade) in the medical environment impact physicians’ identities. It has been conducted in Northern Italy (Emilia Romagna Region), interviewing 16 doctors between specialists and general practitioners and linking their insights with the literature. Our aim was to relate the de-professionalization and proletarianization debate to an identity issue: we studied whether recent changes may have relevant impact on doctors’ understanding or not.
The rising of the Internet as a provider of medical information, the spread of guidelines developed on evidence-based medicine, the need of prescription savings and the clustering of doctors in new organized forms (Medical Homes) are interpreted as revolutions of the last decades. Physicians do engage in an identity work in order to make sense of the surrounding world and in doing so they consider and re-consider their role and how they are seen by patients, colleagues and society. Nevertheless, differently from past professional studies (about managers and consultants) these changes do not have the power of endangering doctors’ identities: they do not eventually feel threatened by the on-going questioning of patients and institutions. The strategic solution that physicians adopt is to draw upon their logic of autonomy and power as professionals: even though they acknowledge that the thaumaturge doctor is an anachronistic feature, they still keep their strong identification as decision makers. Furthermore, the de-professionalization debate, mostly because of the trivial oscillations that doctors’ identities experienced, has been criticized and substituted with the realization that an adaptation to change is necessary. Doctors do understand that their response to change has to entail either an enlistment of current scenarios and a reinforcement of the partnership with colleagues, patients and controlling organizations. Eventually, this study stresses the need of an increasing attention on economic matters which are becoming a pressing issue for physicians. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
Del Canale, Marco LU
supervisor
organization
course
EKHR72 20121
year
type
H2 - Master's Degree (Two Years)
subject
keywords
Professionals, Identity, Change, Medicine, De-professionalization
language
English
id
3633612
date added to LUP
2013-05-30 13:35:01
date last changed
2013-05-30 13:35:01
@misc{3633612,
  abstract     = {The study explores to what extent recent changes (in the last decade) in the medical environment impact physicians’ identities. It has been conducted in Northern Italy (Emilia Romagna Region), interviewing 16 doctors between specialists and general practitioners and linking their insights with the literature. Our aim was to relate the de-professionalization and proletarianization debate to an identity issue: we studied whether recent changes may have relevant impact on doctors’ understanding or not. 
The rising of the Internet as a provider of medical information, the spread of guidelines developed on evidence-based medicine, the need of prescription savings and the clustering of doctors in new organized forms (Medical Homes) are interpreted as revolutions of the last decades. Physicians do engage in an identity work in order to make sense of the surrounding world and in doing so they consider and re-consider their role and how they are seen by patients, colleagues and society. Nevertheless, differently from past professional studies (about managers and consultants) these changes do not have the power of endangering doctors’ identities: they do not eventually feel threatened by the on-going questioning of patients and institutions. The strategic solution that physicians adopt is to draw upon their logic of autonomy and power as professionals: even though they acknowledge that the thaumaturge doctor is an anachronistic feature, they still keep their strong identification as decision makers. Furthermore, the de-professionalization debate, mostly because of the trivial oscillations that doctors’ identities experienced, has been criticized and substituted with the realization that an adaptation to change is necessary. Doctors do understand that their response to change has to entail either an enlistment of current scenarios and a reinforcement of the partnership with colleagues, patients and controlling organizations. Eventually, this study stresses the need of an increasing attention on economic matters which are becoming a pressing issue for physicians.},
  author       = {Del Canale, Marco},
  keyword      = {Professionals,Identity,Change,Medicine,De-professionalization},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {The Impact of Changes in the Medical Environment on Physicians' Identities},
  year         = {2013},
}