New therapies, new discourse, and new opportunities for personal and professional growth: These are just some of the things the MDLinx advisory board members are looking forward to in 2023.
The end of 2022 marks an opportunity for clinicians to reflect a bit and set a course for what they want to accomplish in the New Year.
Clinicians can use these reflections to set some priorities for their careers in 2023.
New year, new medicine? As 2022 comes to a close, clinicians are marking the occasion with hopes for better things ahead and plans to realize those hopes.
MDLinx queried members of its advisory board on their feelings about what they were looking forward to in the new year in medicine. Their responses portray a medical profession in transition, as well as some frustrations with the status quo.
But underlying these observations is a theme of optimism that medicine can—and will—continue to evolve, benefiting patients and those who care for them.
MDLinx: What are you excited about when you think about the year ahead?
Naomi B. Bishop, MD, pediatric intensive care medicine: I am looking forward to (or at least hoping for) a mending of fences in 2023—a depoliticization of “red versus blue” medicine. The process will be long and arduous, and there is so much work to be done to bring the temperature down and allow healthcare providers to get back to caring for patients in a safe and cooperative alliance.
"There are exciting innovations in several areas of medicine coming down the pike that have the potential to dramatically improve our quality of health—and life."
— Naomi B. Bishop, MD
Dr. Bishop: I hope we can find a way to dole them out equitably and bridge the divide between the medically privileged and the less-fortunate majority.
Vincent Carr, DO, cardiologist: What I think is most exciting is the dramatic responses cancer patients are experiencing with the new biologicals targeting specific cell types of cancer cells, mostly without the adverse effects of chemotherapy. There are some patient-specific CART techniques that have not been well-established, but in theory, this technique should mature over the next few years. Because the CART technique teaches the patient's immune cells to fight the cancer, my personal feeling is this will tremendously change how we treat cancers—but it has some maturing to go through.Related: Cancer breakthroughs that gave doctors and patients hope in 2022
Yasmine Ali, MD, cardiologist: I am excited about the new “Women in Medicine” column being launched by MDLinx, for which I will be a regular columnist! This will be a much-needed resource and is long overdue.Related: Introducing Women in Medicine, an MDLinx exclusive
What we won't miss
MDLinx: With the close of 2022, is there anything that you’re looking forward to leaving behind?
Dr. Carr: Looking back on medicine in the COVID-19 days, the CDC, which was once a world-class leader, needs to get its act back together. There are tremendous infectious disease issues out there, such as RSV, which at one time was somewhat rare but now is affecting millions of children and adults. The monkeypox virus has been around forever but perhaps it is only because of the internet and availability of information, but the CDC needs to get their arms around these.
Anastasia Climan, RDN and wellness expert: I think everyone is looking forward to a world where we can focus less on the COVID-19 pandemic and more on overall preventative health and wellness.
"I'm excited for a future that's centered around achieving work/life balance, prioritizing mental health, and valuing the impact of social relationships and community on our physical well-being."
— Anastasia Climan, RDN
Anticipated in 2023
MDLinx: Professionally, are there any milestones or events that you’re looking forward to?
Dr. Ali: I'm looking forward to the publication of my first book, Walk through Fire: The Train Disaster that Changed America, on Feb. 21, 2023. It is a minute-by-minute account of the Waverly Train Disaster of 1978, which devastated my hometown of Waverly, Tennessee, but led to great changes for the nation—including the formation of FEMA. The book is a tribute to first responders and medical staff, and also highlights the critical importance of rural hospitals, as well as the challenges they face in the present day.
Clinman: As a dietitian who does medical writing, I'm excited about new opportunities to deliver medical content in different formats. Patients are taking more ownership of their health and want to learn how to stay healthy and act as active participants in their care. As a result, infographics, social media videos, and podcasts are some of the ways healthcare information is consumed. It's important to serve as a trustworthy source, as these discussions go beyond the doctor's office and permeate into everyday life.
Medications of interest
MDLinx: Is there anything in the FDA pipeline, or a new drug class, that you’re excited about?
Clinman: I'm interested in a new class of sleep medications called DORAs (dual orexin receptor antagonists) that have been rolling out to the market over the past 8 years. Since this type of medication also impacts areas of the brain associated with addictions and cravings, I'm hopeful to see advancements in obesity treatment and addictions that provide patients with more effective and lasting solutions to problems that significantly affect their quality of life.
Dr. Carr: The new diabetes drugs, particularly the glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists. These are the injectables that are being reformulated in lower doses than diabetics need that can make patients lose significant amounts of weight. There are other diabetic drugs, SGLT-2 inhibitors, that work by making the kidneys secrete excess blood sugars. This is a tremendous advantage in diabetic patients with heart failure for whom water pills have lost their effectiveness because of diabetic kidney disease.
"Both the GLP-1 and the SGLT-2 drugs have side effects that can scare patients, but with appropriate monitoring—and good insurance because they are expensive—these drugs are a great addition for diabetics with heart disease."
— Vincent Carr, DO
MDLinx: Are there any anticipated healthcare policy changes that you’re happy—or unhappy—about?
Dr. Carr: The funding for Medicare and the Social Security Administration. It is a two-edged sword. There is an obscene amount of duplication of diagnostic testing because doctors do not keep track of what is already done, despite the “promise” that the electronic health record would have controlled that. All this waste puts a strain on the funding system. The AMA and every specialty college push Congress to fix the mess and no one does. The preauthorization issue is absolutely necessary to control some of this but does impact legitimate needs also.
"There's always room for improvement in the insurance industry."
— Anastasia Climan, RDN
Clinman: Medical coverage is a major expense, and there doesn't seem to be any easy answers. Unfortunately, I'm not really sure how to change the current state of our healthcare industry, but I hate to see cost as a prohibitive factor in access to crucial treatment options.
Amanda Zeglis, DO, psychiatrist: As the mental health crisis continues to surge at our doorsteps, it is with hopes that this new year will bring about opportunities for expanding provisions to those enduring the wait for mental healthcare.
What this means for you
Healthcare is an undeniably challenging field, made perhaps more daunting by the current political climate and healthcare policies. But there are still plenty of reasons to be excited about the medical profession in the new year ahead, including advances in pharmaceuticals, opportunities to focus on wellness-based care, and ways of growing outside of clinical practice.