Work Life Balance - 4 Secrets to Saying "No"

Posted by Dike Drummond MD

Work Life Balance is a key to preventing physician burnout.

And work life balance depends on your ability to say a simple, two letter word. That word is "No".

In my first several calls with a new physician coaching client, we work to deconstruct their current state of overload. Often I will ask, "How did things get so out of balance? Think back to when you took on all these commitments. Did you actually say "Yes" to them all?"

Almost always they shake their head and don't recall ever actually saying "Yes" ... and at the same time, they admit the also never said "No". In fact doctors almost never say no when asked to participate in a committee, take on an extra project or lend a helping hand ... whether at work, your kids school or any number of other areas outside work.

Let's face it, we suck at saying "No" and the result is the overload that is the hallmark of physician burnout

In this short video, you will learn 4 keys to saying "No" with some elegance and grace.

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Tags: work life balance

The Medical Marriage - Date Night Power Tips and more ...

Posted by Dike Drummond MD

The Medical Marriage - how to create and maintain a passionate relationship when you are a practicing physician

This week I lead a workshop for medical couples and a very interesting thing happened.

Two long time couples got into arguments in the training

After some detailed questions it became clear that literally the only thing holding their relationships together now is the money. Each physician spouse was literally begging to be a priority in their doctor's life in front of the whole room.

All they wanted was some of their time and attention. In each case the physician's time, energy and awareness was almost completely occupied by their career - and had been so for decades. 

The spouse wasn't even playing second fiddle here ... they were a member of the audience at best. Not good.

Your relationship does not have to be this way

In this blog post let me show you the psychodynamics of a medical marriage, the #1 tool to maintain the health and passion in your marriage if you are a physician (or married to one) and some recommended reading for all medical couples.

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Physician Burnout and Healthcare's New Quadruple Aim

Posted by Dike Drummond MD

Physician Burnout is the Rodney Dangerfield of issues confronting our rapidly changing healthcare environment

It get's no respect ... at least until now.

In a dramatic mainstream journal article published in the latest issue of Annals of Family Medicine, the authors have proposed using Physician Burnout to redefine Don Berwick's Triple Aim for healthcare.

Here is the Triple Aim:

  • Enhancing the patient experience
  • Improving population health
  • Reducing costs

I hope you can see the blind spot in this three part formula

Let's listen to the authors state what should have been blatantly obvoius from the start ... 

They note:

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Tags: physician burnout prevention, Physician burnout, the happy md, healthcare triple aim, happy doctor, quadruple aim, medicine quadruple aim, healthcare quadruple aim, medicine triple aim, triple aim

Physician Burnout Book - The first step by step guide to your Ideal Practice

Posted by Dike Drummond MD

Physician Burnout Book - "Stop Physician Burnout - what to do when working harder isn't working"

Here's the first step-by-step guide to lower your stress levels, prevent physician burnout, build a more ideal practice and a more balanced life.

We have taken over 1637 hours of experience from one-on-one coaching with physician clients and packed it all into our first physician burnout book. This is the first comprehensive manual any doctor can use to stop physician burnout ... and along the way build a more ideal practice, no matter what your specialty.

Here's the Table of Contents, a sample chapter on why Physician Burnout is not actually a "problem" and links to learn more and get your own personal copy.

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Tags: dike drummond, Physician burnout, physician burnout book, stop physician burnout

Physician Burnout Workshop Tweet Stream #AAFP2014

Posted by Dike Drummond MD

Physican Burnout Workshop the AAFP Scientific Assembly in Washington DC

Here is the Twitter stream on the day of our Burnout Proof Workshop on the main stage at the AAFP Scientific Assembly.

The room held 4000 and we packed it out. Here is what the people had to say live and in person during the live workshop and the book signing for our new book, "Stop Physician Burnout - what to do when working harder isn't working" the next day.

281 tweets and 37 attached images from attendees are below. This is one of the highest and best uses of Twitter and the next best thing to being there.


Jen BrullFri at 12:31 PM

Mic check with @dikedrummond #backstage at #AAFP2014. (He's awesome, BTW.) #almosttime

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Tags: dike drummond, Physician burnout, physician burnout coach, physician burnout workshop, AAFP, healthcare speaker, #AAFP2014, physician burnout speaker

Physician Burnout Lessons from Albert Einstein

Posted by Dike Drummond MD

Physician Burnout Lessons from Albert Einstein

Time and time again I end up quoting Einstein to my physician burnout coaching clients.

The two quotes in this short video are so powerful when it comes to recognizing and reversing physician burnout. Learn them by heart and live them in your practice and your life. You will be way ahead of the game when you do.

I am not sure what the link is between physics and work-life balance. Perhaps there are basic and immutable laws that apply in both arenas. All I know is when I am working with client on physician burnout issues ... all you have to do is memorize these two laws and then live them and you will quickly reverse the downward spiral.


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Tags: dike drummond, Physician burnout, the happy md, prevent physician burnout, albert einstein, einsteins insanity definition

EMR Power Training - Two Ways to Lower Your TITO

Posted by Dike Drummond MD

EMR Power Training

Two ways to consistently lower you TITO week to week

TITO = Time In The Office

How can you build an office day where you spend more face time with your patients than keyboard time with your EMR?

Too often I speak with physicians who are spending hours after the last patient on EMR documentation and - tragically - even more hours grinding away at the keyboard from home after they tuck the kids into bed. If that feels familiar to you, I promise it does not have to be that way.

Here are two ways to start permanently lowering your own personal TITO week after week by cutting down the amount of time you spend typing into your EMR. These are two pieces of a comprehensive strategy to address the dilemma of EMR.

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Tags: Physician burnout, emr, electronic medical records, ehr, medical scribe, ehr template, emr template

Doctor Patient Communication - Stop the "Oh By the Way ..."

Posted by Dike Drummond MD

Doctor Patient Communication - how to stop "Oh, by the way ..." at the end of the visit and build patient satisfaction at the same time.

You know the visit ... 

You work hard helping your patient adjust the three meds she takes for diabetes and heart failure. You are 20 minutes into this visit, feeling like you have done a good job ... wondering when you will get the chance to write your note because now you are a full 30 minutes behind.

As you are neatly wrapping things up, your patient smiles at you and says, "Oh .. by the way doctor ..." and rummages around in her purse, eventually pulling out "THE LIST".

You sigh, your shoulders slump, it feels as if the wind has been knocked out of you. You didn't see it coming and you just fell into the Tiger Trap of "Oh .. by the way" at what should have been the end of this patient encounter. You would give anything to have been able to prevent this happening ... again.

In this post, let me show you how to fill this hole in your doctor patient communication skill set. When you learn to actually ask for the list up front, your energy and patient satisfaction ratings will go way up.

Three steps to stop , "Oh ... by the way"

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Tags: doctor patient communication, physician patient communication, btw, by the way

Physician Burnout Vulnerability and Group Culture

Posted by Dike Drummond MD

Physician Burnout, Vulnerability and Your Group's Culture

I am often asked if I am familiar with the work of Brene Brown and especially her tremendously popular TED videos "The power of vulnerability" and "Listening to shame"

I highly recommend these videos to all physicians because vulnerability and shame are woven through any authentic healing encounter. It is important to understand and navigate shame and vulnerability when they accompany a patient into the exam room.

Brene Brown's work is also immediately relevant to physician burnout. This is especially true for male physicians because of our habit of not reaching out for help.

I love Brene Brown's work and it is incomplete

She points out the willingness to be vulnerable is an act of courage. This is true for most of us. If you speak your truth openly and with transparency, you will probably feel like you are being brave ... like you are taking a risk. Why is that?

Dr. Brown believes it is an innate feature of our human nature. We naturally feel vulnerable when we tell our truth. I disagree. There are outside forces that create this fear of shame. The source of this sense of vulnerability is hidden in plain sight if you remember that you speak the truth within a larger context.

Being open and transparent is only "vulnerable" within an abusive culture

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Tags: Physician burnout, physician communication, medical group culture, physician bullying, vulnerability, Brene Brown

Patient Satisfaction should never be 100%

Posted by Dike Drummond MD

Patient Satisfaction should NEVER be 100%

Patient satisfaction is all the rage these days. It is also a never ending ethical bind for doctors. If your administration thinks you can run your practice like Disney, I know you can feel the heat of the inappropriate pressure to make everyone happy.

I am all for having a supremely satisfying visit to my doctor. It will never be like a 90 minute hot rocks, full body massage ... and when I'm the patient, I will take what I can get.

The problem with comparing a visit to my healthcare provider and
- a massage
- or a meal
- or a hotel stay
- or a trip to Disney World

... is simple. They are not comparable ... for heaven's sake.

If you think you can run a healthcare organization like Disney, you are setting up a battle between Patient Satisfaction on one side and Quality and Safety on the other


In health care, 100% Patient Satisfaction is 

- Dangerous for the physician and the patient

- Unethical and a violation of "Primum Non Nocere"

- If your employer expects this of you as a physician, it is a glaring sign of a physician leadership vacuum

If you are doing your job well ...
There will always be a small minority of patients who must leave disappointed 


How Patient Satisfaction is Measured

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Tags: physician leadership, patient satisfaction