Links To “Is the Golden Age of Academic Anesthesia Over?” From Anesthesiology News

Here is an interesting, although depressing,  article about Academic Anesthesiology.

The potential demise of academic anesthesiology has detrimental implications for all patients and for all physicians even in those in specialties other than Anesthesiology.

The article is worth reviewing by everyone who values academic medicine:

Is the Golden Age of Academic Anesthesia Over? – Academic Anesthesia: Quo Vadis?, from Anesthesiology News. , FEBRUARY 10, 2020.

Here are excerpts:

Times have changed, and as several authors have warned,1-3 anesthesiology is losing its position as a respected academic discipline. Academic anesthesia, as many of us have known it, may soon be a candidate for the endangered species list.

The administrations of many medical schools and their affiliated hospitals view departments of anesthesiology as simply a necessary hospital-based service to support the surgical specialties that are easier to commercialize. Indeed, it seems that some medical school hospitals will deliberately offer their anesthesia services at or below cost in contract negotiations with insurers. While that may appeal to the insurers, it creates an unnecessary anesthesia faculty dependency on the kindness of the dean and hospital CEO to support their academic efforts. Although this dependency may serve higher economic purposes, it can cripple academic anesthesia.

As reimbursements decrease, academic departments are responding by increasing the clinical duties of the faculty to the detriment of their academic activities.4 Some anesthesia departments are able to maintain academic credibility by acquiring one or more National Institutes of Health (NIH)-supported faculty and granting them protected research time, with minimal clinical responsibilities. As a result, the cost of these NIH faculty may be far out of proportion to the clinical income they generate.

Increased clinical workload and expectations of academic productivity combined with minimal control over the work environment lead to faculty discontent and loss of well-being. As a result, unfortunately, faculty may become bad role models for residents/fellows contemplating a career in academic anesthesia. Thus, the eventual demise of academic anesthesia is not as far-fetched as some might think.

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