Physician Leadership: a Simple Communication Tool to Avoid the Disruptive Doctor Label

Posted by Dike Drummond MD

physician-leadership-communication-stop-disruptive-physician-disruptive-doctor-labelPhysician Leadership:
A Simple Communication Tool to Avoid the Disruptive Doctor Label
(video training)

If you invite physicians into your management or leadership meetings, we will diagnose the problems in the system of care with the same speed and skill we diagnose disease in our patients.

Sooner or later we will also run into any number of situations that qualify as hypocrisy: where the organization says one thing and does something completely different.

Nothing in this world upsets a physician leader more than hypocrisy. 

Download the full Disruptive Physician Toolkit Here

We see it right away, like a flashing red light. It drives us to shout, thump tables, foam at the lips and more. This undisciplined behavior results in many doctors being labeled a "disruptive physician" and their completely legitimate concerns downplayed or ignored by the other senior leaders at the table. This outright dismissal of legitimate concerns can be a major cause of physician burnout for some doctors.

Here is a Simple Communication Tool to Completely Avoid Being Labeled Disruptive and get your concerns addressed.

It is a way of pointing out Hypocrisy we have tested with hundreds of physician leaders. It works every time you notice you are becoming upset and tap into the way this 1970's TV detective spoke to his suspects. Check it out:


Hello Dike Drummond here at the home of The Happy MD on the Puget sound in Seattle, Washington. Quick video here to show you how to avoid being labeled as a disruptive physician when you bring up a legitimate operational concern.

When a doctor is in the comfort zone of their practice and they're seeing patients, our expertise is diagnose and treat. We take the symptoms, reach a diagnosis, prescribe a treatment and follow the patient. But if I take that doctor out of a clinical setting and I drop them in a management or administration or organizational meeting, that skill set is used to diagnose organizational problems and the ones that upset doctors the most, are ones that involve hypocrisy.

Hypocrisy, where the organization says one thing and does another.

  • The mission statement says this, we're doing that.
  • Or we all know what the quality practice of medicine would require and we're not doing that, we're doing something else.

When doctors sense hypocrisy like that in an administrative meeting, we tend to get upset. You see - and hear - doctors do this all the time.

What in the world is going on here? Why are we doing this? That's not right. Slam the table, storm out. Well, that doctor unfortunately is going to get labeled disruptive and from that point forward, their opinion is going to be discounted because they're a disruptive doctor.

So let me teach you a behavior pattern that hopefully we can turn into a reflex so that when you sense hypocrisy, when you sense that you're getting upset in an administrative meeting, you can do something other than lose your temper.

It all runs around your ability to imitate a 1970s detective movie series character. I bet you can't guess which one. He had a trench-coat, a half-chewed cigar, put his hand on his head and always used to say,

You know, I'm curious, I'm confused, maybe you can help me out here”. That was Columbo.

And what Columbo would do is he would ask question and pretend that he is ignorant until the criminal would basically confess to him in full.

And so here's how it would go in an administrative or management meeting when you sense hypocrisy:

Notice-Breathe-Release those negative emotions and figure out a way to say the exact same words in your own style. And it could go like this,
you know, I'm noticing something, I'm curious, I'm confused maybe you can help me out here. I'm noticing the mission statement says this and we're doing that, what's that all about?  Help me out here”.

Now that may seem a little artificial as I say it to you for the first time here, but I've helped hundreds of doctors use this particular speech pattern in organizational meetings and it works like magic. Because it points out hypocrisy that nobody can deny and asks other people to explain it to you and you know what happens, they can't.

And what will happen is you will shift their awareness, they will come up with solutions and strategies to this particular issue and they may claim them as their own which is fine.

Our job is to play Columbo because:

  • That works way better than if you lose your temper
  • It avoids the label of disruptive
  • And allows you to diagnose and treat in an organizational setting by asking questions
  • Rather than giving orders and getting in trouble

So there you go. When you're in a management or administrative meeting and you get upset because something's not right, breathe and use Columbo’s speech pattern. “I'm curious, I'm confused, maybe you can help me out here. I'm noticing this is in the mission statement and this is what we're doing, what's that all about? Help me out”.

I think you'll find the first time and every time you use it, it's going to be extremely effective and you'll prevent yourself from being labeled disruptive for sure.

So give that a shot, go into the comments down here and tell me how it worked for you. And until we meet in a live training at some point in time in the future, keep breathing and have a great rest of your day.


Tags: physician leadership, disruptive doctor, disruptive physician toolkit, physician leadership video, columbo, leadership communication, Physician leadership lesson, physician leadership video lesson

Maternal Discrimination in Medicine - Blatant form of healthcare gender bias documented in two new studies

Posted by Dike Drummond MD

Maternal Discrimination in Medicine - Blatant form of healthcare gender bias documented in two new studies

Two studies released this week felt like dueling head slaps as they rolled through social media. Both document a slight twist on the typical gender bias against women that is pervasive in the world of medical education and the practice of medicine.

These two studies were not just about healthcare bias against women for being women - the "Curse of the Double X" I have written about before. This garden variety gender bias plays a huge role in physician burnout for many women physicians in my coaching practice.

These articles lay out a different flavor of bias against women - specifically because of a super power most carry at all times. I am talking about the THREAT OF FECUNDITY.

I always make a point of asking the women physicians at our live trainings if any man has ever said this to their face, "I don't know why we let women go to medical school, you are just going to quit and have babies."

How many say, "Yes"?


Tags: stop physician burnout, gender bias in healthcare workplace, maternal discrimination in medicine

How to Prevent Physician Burnout as Simply as Possible

Posted by Dike Drummond MD

Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.
~ Albert Einstein

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Physician Burnout - Praying for a one-step solution is human nature (and a trap)

One of the key features of physician burnout - or any supremely uncomfortable life circumstance - is a desire to run away, escape, make the pain stop. When you are deep in the downward spiral, your mind drops to its knees and prays for a simple, one-step solution to the agony and despair.

We ask basic questions like:

  1. What can I do to fix/stop/solve this?
  2. How long will it take?

Because our questions are simple, we assume a simple answer will come to our rescue.

That is the first mistake - especially if you are a physician leader looking to prevent physician burnout at a system level. 

We almost always ask the wrong questions.

In this blog post, let me show you the simplest way possible to prevent physician burnout in any healthcare organization that employs physicians. I promise to make it as simple as possible for you, but no simpler. 



Tags: prevent physician burnout, stop physician burnout, burnout prevention strategy

Physician Burnout -Wall Street Journal Article an Insult to US Doctors

Posted by Dike Drummond MD

Stop Physician Burnout - Wall Street Journal Article Insults the Plight of US Doctors

This week the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) assigned a staff writer to pen an article on physician burnout. "Hospitals Address Widespread Doctor Burnout" came out on June 9th and IMHO it would be hard to do a worse job of bringing the American public up to speed on the modern burnout epidemic.

Given that physician burnout is the single biggest threat to the health and wellbeing of both the physicians and patients - the atrocious quality of this article is an insult to the healthcare profession.

The real tragedy here is what happens when a burned out doctors sees the issue handled in this manner in the national press. It becomes even easier to give up hope, since no one appears to be taking your concerns, your exhaustion, your heartbreak - even your impulse to abandon medicine altogether - seriously.  

Don't give up just because the WSJ and this writer have never spoken to a burned out doctor and don't have the first clue what they are talking about. There is ALWAYS a way forward 
Our coaches are always available here
The MATRIX 2.0 is here

Reading such drivel ... on such a stage ... realizing the WSJ just totally blew an opportunity to inform the public on the nature and impact of the plague of physician burnout ... is infuriating. 

The article staggers randomly from superficial point to silly quote for just long enough to become truly annoying.

Here are the key take aways from the writers perspective. BTW, if these highlights seem lame/vapid/superficial ... you are beginning to understand just how bad this article is.


Tags: stop physician burnout

Stop Physician Suicide - Bourdain highlights the need for prevention

Posted by Dike Drummond MD

Physician suicide is the most extreme complication of physician  burnout, yet suicides often fly under the radar

Physician suicides are taboo subjects, quickly swept under the rug and subconsciously banned from civilized conversation ... until ... someone popular and famous and well-loved dies in a highly visible suicide. This week it was Anthony Bourdain, author of Kitchen Confidential and host of his Parts Unknown TV series. 

While the world mourns Bourdain, the natural tendency is for all of us to remember someone we lost to suicide in our own lives. For doctors, the person we remember is often a colleague. The whole issue of doctor, resident and medical student suicide gets lost in the larger conversation about the tidal wave of physician burnout. The sad truth is that physician suicide is a known complication of physician burnout and ... 

Whether you are male or female, choosing to become a doctor immediately doubles your suicide rate. 

As the world mourns the unexpected loss of Bourdain, my heart mourns for those doctors, doctors in training, nurses, EMT's and other healthcare workers who also took their lives ... the people whom only you and I remember.

Four Reminders and Action Steps to Prevent Physician Suicide in wake of this week of tragedy:


Tags: stop physician burnout, physician suicide

Stop Physician Burnout: Is blanket genetic testing the straw that breaks the doctor's back?

Posted by Dike Drummond MD

Stop Physician Burnout: Is blanket genetic testing the straw that breaks the doctor's back?

Today's sign that the end is near ...
Or the legitimate future of healthcare?? 

Will the doctors survive to see it through?

One of the reasons for the modern epidemic of physician burnout is the leadership habit of piling more and more and more on the backs of the doctors. We survived residency. We can take almost anything. And even the most well conditioned baby boomer workaholic physician has their limits. 

  • The thousands of clicks and key strokes of the modern EMR, text messages, emails and other InBox work. Maybe you even deal with 2 or three different EMRs each week.
  • The various quality indicators and patient satisfaction requirements, HCAPS, MOC and more
  • Dealing with the chaos in the insurance markets and continuous mergers and acquisitions

The default setting for any new task is always, "let the doctors take care of it". No one appears to be asking the Quadruple Aim Question: "What effect will this have on the health and wellbeing of the providers."

I believe we just got a peek at what our collective Last Straw might look like just this week - and it is a sneaky one for sure. This would appear to be a good thing on the surface - good for the patients. And you are going to have to convince me this is not a legitimate Last Straw for the doctors. Ready? Drum roll please ... 

This Week the Geisinger healthcare system decided they would provide free DNA sequencing for all patients !!


Tags: stop physician burnout, genetic testing, genome, can of worms, precision medicine

Stop Physician Burnout - Always be Building a More Ideal Practice

Posted by Dike Drummond MD

Stop Physician Burnout by continuously building a more Ideal Practice ... here's how

In this brief video lesson (5:28) you will learn a three-step process to always be building a more Ideal Practice. This process is also laid out in our book starting on page 70 and this video training is just one of 48 digital resources in our Burnout Proof APP here.

3 Steps to Building Your Ideal Practice

Stop the Ongoing Loss of Physician Autonomy


Tags: ideal job description, stop physician burnout, physician burnout video training, Ideal practice description

Stop Physician Burnout with the Reverse Differential Diagnosis

Posted by Dike Drummond MD

Stop Physician Burnout with the Reverse Differential Diagnosis

Doctors are trained to be diagnosis machines. You plop us down in front of a complete stranger for 10 - 15 minutes and we will diagnose the problem - and be in action to treat it - in somewhere between 5 seconds and 15 minutes. It's what we do dozens of times a day and thousands of times a year in our practice.

We originally learned how to do this in the familiar exercise of Differential Diagnosis

In this post, let me show you how this basic function of a good doctor invisibly robs us of the ability to be happy, content, grateful and relaxed. You will also learn how to turn the process around and perform a Reverse Differential Diagnosis any time you wish -- to find blessings showering you like a thunderstorm any time you step out of your physician programming. 


Tags: stop physician burnout, reverse differential diagnosis

Save 1 Million Clicks a Day With One Simple Change

Posted by Dike Drummond MD

Stop Physician Burnout: Save a Million Clicks a Day With This One Simple Change

Every day, all over the world, physicians waste time and energy on EMR and other documentation tasks that completely obstruct our ability to provide a quality patient encounter.

I am talking about things we are forced to do on the computer that are a COMPLETE WASTE OF TIME

These are computer tasks everyone knows add no value whatsoever to patient care. Their only consequence is increased stress and wasted time and energy for everyone involved.

Here is a simple - one step - inexpensive solution that will save well over a million clicks a day across the USA and instantly and permanently give every single provider back time and energy as soon as you plug the darn thing in. It really is that simple. Ready?


Tags: emr, stop physician burnout, tap and go log in, rfid login

If Dr. Seuss wrote your Advanced Directive - MUST SEE

Posted by Dike Drummond MD

Here is a funny, sweet, heartfelt, rhyming Advanced Directive written in the style of Theodor Geisel -- AKA Dr. Seuss

Please invest 5:27 right now in watching this lovely, lovely experience


Tags: dr seuss, advanced directives

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