Physicians as Latent Creatives

socialized_medicineBy Bryan Vartabedian, MD

Medical schools and institutions have the most remarkable intellectual property within their staffs—but no one ever sees it. Doctors sit quietly in their offices with their ideas and experience. Marketing professionals work to try to find the material and the differentiators that can publicly define the institution. Patients look for cases and stories that may match their own. Medical students seek experience and real world know-how.

The trick is to get that information and wisdom to places that can do good: public places.

One way is for institutions to seek out its “latent creative” physicians. Latent creatives are providers who love to write but never had permission and never had a platform. Latent creatives have strong opinions and amazing ideas just waiting to be shared, understood, labeled, tagged, and built upon. They have some unusual ability to speak in front of a camera, make diagrams, or collect and create images.

Most latent creatives come into the medical profession, work, live, and retire without their creativity ever being tapped. And they have no idea what’s inside of them.

Medical leadership should be motivated to bring what’s inside their faculty out for everyone to see. Human attention centers around content—and where there’s attention, there’s money. This is the value proposition for dean and CEOs. But it goes beyond the bottom line.

It’s important to understand that “doctor” means teacher, and this new ability to be in public is bringing medicine back to its roots. The ability to write, record, and make is bringing back and amplifying the doctor’s role as teacher. It is resurrecting the doctor as communicator and leader.

Vartabedian—Bryan Vartabedian, MD, is a pediatric gastroenterologist at Texas Children’s Hospital/Baylor College of Medicine. He writes the “Socialized Medicine” column for Wing of Zock and blogs at 33Charts.