Friday, March 2, 2012

PAs as Outliers

I recently finished reading Outliers by Malcom Gladwell.  Gladwell is a talented essayist who has written for The Washington Post and The New Yorker.  I am now reading Gladwell's What the Dog Saw, also fascinating.

And I have been thinking about how some of his theories apply to the current state of the physician assistant profession.

Outliers benefit from time and place of birth

Outliers is a fascinating book that looks at how intelligence and subsequent success or failure can be influenced, indeed determined, by one's upbringing as one of privilege or lack and by when and where you are born.

Gladwell identifies how the the unique success of the industrial barons of the mid 19th century in the U.S. in railroads, gas,  etc. (think Dupont, Rockefeller, Carnegie et. al. aka "the big boys" who created vast wealth for their family's subsequent generations) was due not only to their genius and hard work but to where and when they were born. 

Timing is everything.

Hardware and Software

He points out that this also applies to the success of computer tycoons Bill Gates, Paul Allen, and Steve Jobs.  Their birth years in the mid 1950s put them just young enough to be on the cusp of the computer boon when they were in high school and college in the 1970s and the timing was perfect for them to use their unique expertise in a virginal world of computers.

PAs as Outliers

Are physician assistants uniquely positioned to becoming the outliers in healthcare in the next two to five years?  It seems that the timing is right.

As healthcare reform brings millions of new patients into the healthcare arena, PAs will be uniquely positioned to shoulder a large part of their care. 

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