Burnout Answers from a Medical Director

What happens when a doctor becomes an administrator?  Well, a lot. The doctor sees behind the curtain.  To survive, he or she must realize how to play the game and either morph into an administrator or fail at the new job.  This is my opinion but I have seen this over and over in my career.  It’s actually understandable.  Picture yourself in the trenches getting creamed as a primary care doc, ER doc, etc.  Then you get offered a job with almost twice the salary NOT to see patients.  Are you going to say no?  Then you realize that all you have to do is to speak the language of Administralian.  It’s not hard to learn because you have heard the bogus terms for years but now you have to embrace them.  Could you do it?  For a lot more money and little or no patient care?

Let me give you another example and the reason I brought this up.  I saw this article in Becker’s Review called Three key steps for reducing physician burnout and I thought, wow, this is really stupid and yet a doctor wrote it.  Here were the keys:

  1. For starters, thinking of the physician not as an individual provider but as part of a dedicated care coordination team.
  2. Contrary to popular belief, technology also can help reduce physician burnout.
  3. Another solution to physician burnout requires a paradigm shift. Historically, physicians have been looked upon as the sole source for keeping patients healthy or getting them on the road to recovery. As healthcare continues to evolve, it will be critical for physicians to empower their patients to take control of their health.

See how easy it is to fix burnout?  All you have to do is embrace everything that has caused burnout.  Here is what made me smirk the most:

Dr. Ann Marie Sun, served as an emergency physician for 14 years. Her own experience with physician burnout precipitated a career transition in 2013. Dr. Sun now serves as medical director of population health at Arizona Care Network, one of the nation’s leading physician-led and governed accountable care organizations, more than 5,500 providers and 300,000 patients.

So, she burns out and then becomes an administrator of an ACO and then wants to tell us how to fix our burnout.  What is wrong this picture?

Dr. Farrago is the author of four books, which you can find here.
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