The amount and complexity of medical knowledge we need to keep up with is changing and growing at a remarkable rate. I was trained in an era in which it was taken as a given that congestive heart failure patients should not receive beta-blockers; now it is a big mistake if we don’t prescribe them in most cases. But even before starting medical school, most of us realize that things will change a lot, and many of us see that as a good thing. It keeps our work interesting. Just recently, our hospital had a guest speaker who talked about potential medical applications of nanotechnology. It was way over my head, but it sounded pretty cool.
While I was prepared for ongoing changes in medical knowledge, I failed to anticipate how quickly the business of medicine would change during my career. I think the need to keep up with ever-increasing financial and regulatory issues siphons a lot of time and energy that could be used to keep up with the medical knowledge base. I wasn’t prepared for this when I started my career.
Because it is the start of a new year, I thought I would highlight one issue related to CPT coding: Medicare stopped recognizing consult codes as of Jan. 1 (see “Consultation Elimination,” p. 31).