How DVMs measure up against MDs


Evolving technology continues to make veterinary diagnostics and treatment increasingly similar to human medicine. But your opinions on industry issues diverge dramatically.

NOW AND AGAIN SIMILARITIES BETWEEN VETERINARY medicine and human medicine pop up in the buzz. So just how much do you have in common with docs on the human side? Not much—at least in the few hot-topic areas we checked out.

When is the client right?

When you disagree with a client's choice of treatment, 68 percent of you accept the client's decision, while only 30 percent of medical doctors do, according to the 2006 Veterinary Economics Industry Issues Study and a Web poll from our sister publication, Medical Economics. Most respondents to the Web poll (62 percent), suggest that the patient get a second opinion. (For more, see Figure 1)

Are hospitals good for medicine?

Eighty-nine percent of veterinarians say 24-hour veterinary hospitals are good for medicine because they can give inpatients more attention. Only 54 percent of physicians responding to a Medical Economics Web poll evaluate human hospitals the same way. Eighteen percent of respondents to the poll say it doesn't matter, because they can't afford not to use hospitals, and 20 percent say that hospitals aren't good for medicine because patients feel abandoned by their primary care doctor. Fewer than 5 percent of veterinarians feel this way about 24-hour veterinary hospitals. (For more see, "Weighing the Changes Raised by Specialty Practice" )

Figure 1 Apples and oranges?

Does the future look bright?

Veterinarians are more optimistic than their cohorts on the human-medicine side about the time they'll spend working in the future. Eighty-nine percent of those responding to the Industry Issues Study say in five years they expect their workload will be about the same as it is now or they will be working fewer—but smarter—hours. Only 44 percent of respondents to the Medical Economics Web poll feel this way. Forty-five percent of responding physicians believe they'll be working harder to earn the same money in five years, compared with 7 percent of veterinarians.

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