Aging doctors may need some skills testing, urologists say

April 1, 2011

While many older physicians retain excellent clinical skills into their seventh decade and beyond, questions have been raised about age-related illness in older clinicians and how it affects their ability to practice.

While many older physicians retain excellent clinical skills into their seventh decade and beyond, questions have been raised about age-related illness in older clinicians and how it affects their ability to practice. A 2005 study conducted at the University of Oklahoma found that 6.6% of doctors out of medical school for 40 years had faced disciplinary action versus only 1.3% of doctors who had practiced just 10 years (Am J Med 2005; 118:773-7).

Urology Times talked to urologists around the country about processes for handling doctors whose mental or physical skills might be diminishing, but who were unaware their ability to practice effectively is hampered. We asked what they would do if they thought a physician was losing the mental capability to practice and what they thought of the suggestion of conducting age-related cognitive testing for all physicians.