Quiet, the Smart People are Going to Tell Us How to Fix Physician Burnout

When people pretend they are smart they come up with things like this:

  • A survey of 934 physicians with the Palo Alto Medical Foundation (PAMF) found they received an average of 243 electronic “in-basket” messages per week regarding their patients. Of those, nearly half were automatically generated by PAMF’s EHR.
  • According to the survey results, published Monday in Health Affairs, 36% of responding doctors reported symptoms of burnout, while 29% said they intended to reduce their clinical workload in the next year. Additionally, 42% of surveyed physicians received EHR-generated messages at higher-than-average volumes. Those doctors had a 40% greater likelihood of reporting symptoms of burnout and a 38% higher probability they wanted to cut their clinical work hours.
  • The study’s authors suggested shutting off automatic messaging to doctors when they’re off work and altering EHR-related workflows so some tasks are delegated to other employees. They also urged EHR designers to rethink messaging algorithms, as “physicians might not be the most appropriate recipients of some system-generated messages.”

You see, it’s that easy. Just shut off the automatic messages and alter the EHR-related workflows. Simple, right? And don’f forget to adjust the algorithms.

This was satire, right? Did they forget that the system of metrics and MIPS and every other bullshit hurdle to get paid was forced on doctors. You may want to change that first. Just sayin’.

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] 

  3 comments for “Quiet, the Smart People are Going to Tell Us How to Fix Physician Burnout

  1. mamadoc
    July 11, 2019 at 8:57 pm

    It would be a refreshing walk if it ended with my foot in an administrator’s behind. THAT would be refreshing.

  2. Steve O'
    July 6, 2019 at 12:46 pm

    Don’t forget the cheery daily emails from every upper-middling-middle-management type, I count six a day, who send out their cheery reminder to “Fight burnout! Get up and take a refreshing walk!” Then they grouse at you when you don’t IMMEDIATELY respond to their instant messages (like if you’re examining a patient or something.) If they come see me for something, I think I’ll take a conference call during their DRE.

  3. bbneo
    July 6, 2019 at 8:37 am

    And that’s the “brief”, Doug. 😉

    As we say in the real world … Duh!

Comments are closed.