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Distinguishing Clinical and Research Doctors
 NO. 28 JULY 13, 2017

The overemphasis on scientific research and inadequate consideration of clinical skills in China's evaluation system for doctors should be changed. Li Lianda, one of China's top experts on traditional Chinese medicine and an academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, recently warned against the phenomenon whereby one academic paper is more valuable than doing 1,000 surgeries or saving 100 patients, and pointed out that a doctor's top priority should be treating patients.

Excessive attention to scientific research in the current assessment system for doctors has resulted in medical experts with mediocre clinical skills. As scientific research becomes the criterion for promotion, many doctors spend a vast amount of time doing research in labs. Such a system has also given rise to academic corruption including plagiarism. On the other hand, some doctors with strong medical skills have been unable to secure promotion owing to a lack of published papers.

The current doctor evaluation system may be reformed by borrowing experience from developed nations. It's extremely difficult to secure a license to practice medicine in some countries. Doctors are divided into family doctors and those specializing in scientific research. Family doctors, who account for the majority, don't need to do research, and only doctors in large hospitals are required to do medical research.

Therefore, different assessment systems should be applied to different types of doctors. It's crucial to distinguish clinical and research-oriented doctors in order to enable high-caliber clinical doctors to receive due social recognition and promote the sustainable development of the medical sector.

(This is an edited excerpt of an article published in the Guangming Daily on June 28)

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