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An Interview with a Doctor Essay

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Medicine, medical supplies, and medical treatment are multi-billion dollar industries crucial to the wellbeing of the public. Doctors and other members of the health-care industry do their best to provide excellent care for the nation’s sick and injured, while scientists and researchers work to develop new drugs and technologies to fight disease. We often view medical care as a basic human right; something that all persons, rich or poor, should have access to in times of need. But despite our notions of what healthcare should be, those who make a living in this industry, specifically owners of firms, must contend with the same economic questions facing businesses in any industry. To learn more about this vast service industry, I interviewed Dr. Martin Slez, a dentist/oral surgeon and owner of a medical practice that provides both general care and specialized treatments for oral diseases. Of the topics discussed, firm goals, pricing, costs, and technology stood out as particularly interesting and unique facets of the organization, as they differed considerably from those in other industries.
When asked to state the primary goal of his business, Dr. Slez cited “high quality health care service” as the firm’s main objective. The effective treatment of, and development of trust with, the practice’s patients, Dr. Slez continued, takes precedence over profits. Indeed, if all healthcare firms placed profits above patient care (and many do) we would be far worse off. While doing what is needed to stop the spread of a disease or alleviate pain may not always be the most cost effective approach, it is the approach demanded by the government and general public. This is not to say that Dr. Slez’s firm does not try to maximize profit. The f...


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...d about the economic nature of new technologies, Dr. Slez emphasized that “costs almost always increase with new equipment”. When deciding whether or not to adopt a new technology, Dr. Slez cited cost of implementation, industry standard, and efficacy relevant to the current market as his primary considerations. “If a treatment costs more but is no more effective, we won’t adopt it” he continued. Technology, as with all other aspects of the firm, must be consistent with that firm’s goals; excellent care at an affordable cost.
Overall, the interview allowed me to apply the concepts covered in class to a real world scenario. Dr. Slez was happy to discuss the nature of his business, and did so clearly and concisely. The experience has deepened my knowledge of both the health-care industry and the free market system as a whole, and I hope to learn more in the future.


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