Making Money Off of Physician Burnout

sept_19_ihe_physician_burnout_panel

I just hate it when companies try to exploit something that is trending.  I hate it even more when it is about something I am so familiar with like physician burnout.  This was recently emailed to me (their big webcast link is here):

Report: Physician Burnout on the Rise, Healthcare Leaders Design Roadmap to Restore Joy in Medicine

Authors of report to present recommendations during September 19 webinar
SAN JOSE, Calif., Sept. 15, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Vocera Communications, Inc. (NYSE:VCRA) announced today that innovative solutions are within reach to reverse the climbing rates of physician burnout in America, thanks to research by a think tank of leading physicians, including the company’s Chief Medical Officer Bridget Duffy, MD. The findings are detailed in a new report: “Physician Burnout in America: A Roadmap for Restoring Joy and Purpose to Medicine,” which will be featured in an upcoming webcast on Monday, Sept. 19. Register for the complimentary webcast here.

Among the conveners of this discussion and architects of the report are Dr. Duffy; William J. Maples, MD, Chief Medical Officer of Professional Research Consultants, Inc. and Executive Director of the Institute for Healthcare Excellence; Ronald Paulus, MD, President and CEO of Mission Health; and Tom Cosgrove, Founder of QPatient Insight. These thought leaders converged at The Johnson Foundation Wingspread Center with other industry pioneers in late 2015 to design a roadmap and change the physician burnout paradigm.

“Burnout is a serious problem that negatively impacts physicians as well as patients, families and the entire care team,” Dr. Paulus said. “To identify root cause and design a roadmap for change, we explored the factors contributing to physician burnout at the macro, micro and individual levels. The report outlines a path that begins our journey to restore humanity, joy and resiliency to the practice of medicine. We have made this a top strategic priority at Mission Health.”

The report also cites some startling industry statistics, including the fact that physicians are more likely than the general population to commit suicide. Most physicians experience burnout, and 73 percent would not recommend the profession to their children. At the same time that baby boomers are becoming seniors at the rate of 10,000 per day, the physician workforce is decreasing. Some 30 percent of primary care physicians aged 35-49 expect to leave the medical field, and a shortage of 25,000 surgeons is expected by 2025.

“Physician burnout is often reported and talked about,” Dr. Maples said. “However, until now, real solutions for addressing burnout have proven to be elusive—in part because physicians themselves haven’t been involved in developing or implementing them.”

This important discussion leading to the report included rural, suburban, urban and military health system leaders, primary- and specialty-care providers, and medical education leaders. There were also frontline caregivers, hospital and health system executives, resiliency and neurology experts and healthcare technology entrepreneurs, who all gathered to develop a deeper understanding of this significant problem and collaborate on innovative ways to address it.

After the think tank collaboration, participants embarked on an intensive research effort and in-depth analysis of the findings. The resulting report focuses on the five key areas they identified to reverse physician burnout, and action steps to do so:

Restore human connections in healthcare with better communication
Redesign medical training with a curriculum focused on physician-patient relationships
Engage patients as partners in care and include them in innovation design
Optimize technology to enhance the patient, physician and care team experience
Reform healthcare policy and processes in ways that truly support physicians and patients
Within these five areas, the report’s authors offer 16 compelling ideas for enacting sweeping change. They include recommendations such as leveraging technology to support, rather than impede, physician-patient interaction; engaging insurance companies in reducing administrative red tape; and deploying care models that make patients a full partner in their care.

“We must address physician burnout, and we must do it now. It is essential to improving the healthcare experience for all of us – physicians, nurses, patients and families,” said Dr. Duffy, who also leads the Vocera Experience Innovation Network, an international group of thought leaders focused on discovering technologies and solutions that meet the Quadruple Aim of improving population health, elevating patient-centered care, and reducing costs while restoring joy back to the practice of medicine. “Bold leadership is needed to drive an industry-wide cultural transformation and mentor the next generation of physicians so they will embrace these values.”

Later this year, additional healthcare leaders will address nurse burnout in America, a nationwide conversation Vocera will join, and one in which the company’s Chief Nursing Officer Rhonda Collins, MSN, RN, will participate.

 

Now let’s tease out the bullshit:

  1. innovative solutions are within reach to reverse the climbing rates of physician burnout
  2. Think tank of leading physicians
  3. To identify root cause and design a roadmap for change, we explored the factors contributing to physician burnout at the macro, micro and individual levels
  4. The resulting report focuses on the five key areas they identified to reverse physician burnout, and action steps to do so:Restore human connections in healthcare with better communication
    Redesign medical training with a curriculum focused on physician-patient relationships
    Engage patients as partners in care and include them in innovation design
    Optimize technology to enhance the patient, physician and care team experience
    Reform healthcare policy and processes in ways that truly support physicians and patients
  5. Within these five areas, the report’s authors offer 16 compelling ideas for enacting sweeping change. They include recommendations such as leveraging technology to support, rather than impede, physician-patient interaction; engaging insurance companies in reducing administrative red tape; and deploying care models that make patients a full partner in their care.

So, as you can see, they have literally got NONE of it right.  It’s hysterical.  Here are just some of the things they missed that need to be done:

  • Remove the insurers
  • Remove the administrators
  • Remove unproven quality metrics
  • Remove the lawyers
  • Severely cut back on EMR work
  • Increase the amount of time with patients

Please don’t pay for this kind of webcasting crap. Instead, leave some recommendations in the comments and maybe they can learn from you: the actual physicians who are in the trenches.

 

Douglas Farrago MD

Douglas Farrago MD is a full-time practicing family doc in Forest, Va. He started Forest Direct Primary Care where he takes no insurance and bills patients a monthly fee. He is board certified in the specialty of Family Practice. He is the inventor of a product called the Knee Saver which is currently in the Baseball Hall of Fame. The Knee Saver and its knock-offs are worn by many major league baseball catchers. He is also the inventor of the CryoHelmet used by athletes for head injuries as well as migraine sufferers. Dr. Farrago is the author of four books, two of which are the top two most popular DPC books. From 2001 – 2011, Dr. Farrago was the editor and creator of the Placebo Journal which ran for 10 full years. Described as the Mad Magazine for doctors, he and the Placebo Journal were featured in the Washington Post, US News and World Report, the AP, and the NY Times. Dr. Farrago is also the editor of the blog Authentic Medicine which was born out of concern about where the direction of healthcare is heading and the belief that the wrong people are in charge. This blog has been going daily for more than 15 years Article about Dr. Farrago in Doximity Email Dr. Farrago – [email protected] 

  10 comments for “Making Money Off of Physician Burnout

  1. September 19, 2016 at 7:52 am

    All nice fluff to talk about. One of the best and simplest ways to solve many of the above noted problems is to support Direct Primary Care and take all of the life sucking meddling bureaucrats out of medicine. Then and only then will you have a system that supports both patient and physician in a mutually enhancing relationship.

    • Kurt
      September 21, 2016 at 3:53 pm

      Thing that keeps me going is the light at the end of the tunnel and 5 years to retirement age.
      May God consign to Hades anyone who touts FP as rewarding and with a future. There isn’t and
      the NP’s will take over along with the hospitalists. Then no one will know what the heck is going on
      with the patient.
      I’ve seen much younger docs than me totally disgusted and one who just gave up OB saying she’s having the financial planner working on making it so she can retire at 55 and bail out. Plus she just remarried a doc 8 years her junior so “he” can keep working for insurance and she can enjoy life.
      I call her very lucky and am envious.

  2. LJSlossMD
    September 18, 2016 at 3:22 pm

    … or just succumb to Stockholm Syndrome and save your nickle.
    (Wikipedia: “Stockholm syndrome, or capture-bonding, is a psychological phenomenon described in 1973 in which hostages express empathy and sympathy and have positive feelings toward their captors, sometimes to the point of defending and identifying with the captors. These feelings are generally considered irrational in light of the danger or risk endured by the victims, who essentially mistake a lack of abuse from their captors for an act of kindness.[1][2] The FBI’s Hostage Barricade Database System shows that roughly eight percent of victims show evidence of Stockholm syndrome.

    Stockholm syndrome can be seen as a form of traumatic bonding, which does not necessarily require a hostage scenario, but which describes “strong emotional ties that develop between two persons where one person intermittently harasses, beats, threatens, abuses, or intimidates the other.” One commonly used hypothesis to explain the effect of Stockholm syndrome is based on Freudian theory. It suggests that the bonding is the individual’s response to trauma in becoming a victim. Identifying with the aggressor is one way that the ego defends itself. When a victim believes the same values as the aggressor, they cease to be perceived as a threat.”

    • Pat
      September 19, 2016 at 12:13 pm

      Best explanation of the AAFP I’ve seen.

  3. Bridget Reidy
    September 18, 2016 at 3:09 pm

    Simple solution: Go back to treating physicians like the idealistic smart people they are, give them the simple respect due any hard-working, nearly irreplaceable expert, and quit demanding busywork. And quit calling anyone who doesn’t at least do part time practice (30 hours a week) a “thought leader”, and those who question new unproven ideas “disruptive”. Those too busy to make the connections with PR departments and administrators are thinkers too and their thoughts should be the lead ones.

    • Pat
      September 18, 2016 at 4:36 pm

      “Thought leader” – that’s a funny term.

  4. Jose G. Valedon
    September 18, 2016 at 2:54 pm

    I don’t understand what they are talking about, it is like they are writing/talking in a different language and unfortunately wasting their & our time. Too many goals and complex ” leadership $ corporate jargon, goals & solutions. May want to start with MD working and sleeping time, quality time with pts, improve reimbursement, decrease the paper/ computer to clinical time spent & stop using/ abusing MDs to do secretarial or assistant roles. Oops! I forgot let us focus in what we are good at, taking care of pts. and not on the crap we have to deal with every day.

  5. Steve O'
    September 18, 2016 at 8:30 am

    Physician burnout is shockingly unprofitable. Any way of improving the problem of physician burnout that does not touch profits is on the table. That being said, there is no table. It is a theoretical concept.
    Physician burnout is like peace in the Middle East. The solution is not to gather people and have them sing songs and understand that they should live together in harmony. Condescending crap from above does not inspire others, nor is it intended to. It is just a way to paper over the disaster so that everyone can say – “Oh, no! Well we tried.”
    Patient burnout – the occasional insane patient shooting up a clinic – is climbing. Oh, well, what are you going to do? Some windbag will offer:
    “They include recommendations such as leveraging technology to support, rather than impede, physician-patient interaction; … reducing administrative red tape; and deploying care models that make patients a full partner in their care.” Yep, that’s gonna do it.

  6. September 18, 2016 at 7:52 am

    These are probably many of the thought leaders (who appointed themselves to “lead our thoughts” kinda Orwellian sounding) who designed us into burn out in the first place.

  7. Thomas Guastavino
    September 18, 2016 at 6:39 am

    Spot on. Trying to tolerate the conditions that lead to burnout is like trying to tolerate a knife stuck in your head. You first have to remove the knife, then heal the damage. Different training, relaxation techniques and support seminars just leave the knife in place.

Comments are closed.