DPC News

EP 387 | Physician Burnout Platitudes Aren’t Working.

EP 387 | Physician Burnout Platitudes Aren’t Working.

“Don’t let the practice of medicine leave you weaker, sidelined and ineffectual.” ~Editor

By Michael Tetreault, Editor in Chief/Author/Commuicator

AUGUST/SEPT. 2021

Don’t let the practice of medicine leave you weaker, sidelined and ineffectual.

I love that quote. I think I read it in a book in the past year but I just can’t remember who said/wrote it. We modified it to pertain to Physicians and healthcare as it was a business book that wasn’t talking about healthcare at all. I think it’s pertinent today though, don’t you?

So much has been written, discussed and prepared and repeated on the topic of physician well-being, physician burnout and career satisfaction in medicine. It seems Primary Care, Family Medicine, DOs, PAs and even NPs and Nurses are hit the hardest when it comes to being the victims of this disease in healthcare.

Over the years we’ve noticed that medical associations (small and large), specialty societies and even local statewide medical groups have little to no practical tools, handles and hold over this topic. Beyond the rhetoric of “We need to do something about the moral injury happening to our providers …” or “You’re not alone …”.

This can be frustrating as an educated healthcare provider who went to school for years and truly desires to help people. As adults, we must look at our time, our behaviours, etc., and understand that there’s no one solution to solve this problem. I’ve heard many tout that solutions like telehealth products, retail healthcare and even Direct Primary Care (DPC) will solve the problem en masse. While I’m one of the strongest advocates for this model (and others that bring the patient and physician closer together), I believe identifying and putting one model on a pedestal is not wise in the long run.

Why?

Well, quite frankly, every innovation has an expiration date.

The cold, harsh and possibly even exciting reality of the world is that ‘Somebody is already working on a uniquely better approach, a uniquely better product, a uniquely better environment, a uniquely better model. Someone out there is already messing with the rules with the prevailing model. The goal isn’t necessarily to be the first or the pioneers of uniquely better but people should be in a position organizationally and  personally to recognize it when it comes along.

I’m sorry if that may contradict some feelings of strong emotions out there but we have to be realistic.

When you want your Patient to lower their cholesterol or work towards the proper management of their Diabetes, you may prescribe a variety of methods to get this done.

If we put one model or solution or tool on a pedestal over others that would be the same as saying “Just exercise your right arm and left leg …”.

INNOVATION defined | noun | a new idea, device, or method. :: the act or process of introducing new ideas, devices, or methods.

Do you think burnout is a problem in healthcare? We’re talking with some great folks in the U.K. and Vienna on a proposition to help tackle burnout for healthcare workers. They have made a 2 – 3 minute multiple choice survey, and you filling it out would really help us all get approval to go ahead with building out the solution!

Great DPC models, Concierge Medicine and the like are indeed innovative. It’s one of the narrow lanes in healthcare over the past twenty plus years that are helping to address and restore a lost relationship between the Physician and the Patient. In turn, these business models and solutions are helping Providers find their joy again. But, it’s not for everyone. It’s not even for every Doctor.

I’ve seen, met with and interviewed countless Doctors over the past many years. Not everyone is built for this. I dare say some people are right when they make statements such as “One out of every ten Doctors can do this.”

“Somebody is already working on a uniquely better approach, a uniquely better product, a uniquely better environment, a uniquely better model. Someone out there is already messing with the rules with the prevailing model. The goal isn’t necessarily to be the first or the pioneers of uniquely better but people should be in a position organizationally and  personally to recognize it when it comes along.” ~A.S., Leadership Podcast; Uniquely Better, Part 2; Dec. 1, 2017

That said, many strategies, the right tools, the right curriculum, courses or training can help. As adults, we all learn on a need to know basis. We tackle challenges in front of us when they are placed there. Typically we don’t Physicians address burnout five years ahead of time. It’s unpredictable that way. What are the practical tools you have leaned into over the years to keep your sanity in healthcare? Is it a date night with your spouse? Is it attending mental health counseling sessions once a quarter? Is it reading books? Is it finding new ways to keep your medical office and team captivated by creating a culture of servanthood in your practice? Or, is it a combination of tools?

If you are not a fan of this op/ed piece today, the good news is Healthcare innovation talks a big game about how rapid and fast it’s moving. But come Monday morning when the waiting room is full and the phones are ringing, that rapid pace of innovation hits brakes and it’s business as usual … where a Mother of three waits 61-minutes with her son as the first appointment of the day at an urgent care center.

In closing, I’ll leave you with this thought. You’re job, your education, your insight, your place and position in our communities is too important to lose in our community. Don’t let the practice of medicine leave you weaker, sidelined and ineffectual. Change your approach and practice each day medicine the way you see is … Uniquely Better. Find a solution that works for you … get your unofficial MBA and learn everything you can about the options you have that are awaiting your unique perspective!

FOR DOCTORS,

Michael Tetreault
Editor-in-Chief/Author/Communicator

Categories: DPC News

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