Are Physicians the Canary in the Coal Mine of Medicine

Posted by Dike Drummond MD

Are Physicians the Canary in the Coal Mine of Medicine?

Back in the day, coal miners always carried a canary with them in a small cage whenever they would go down in the mine. The canary is a very talkative bird, always singing and tweeting in a constant background noise. Canaries have one more characteristic important to a miner.

When there is bad air in the mine, the canary’s sensitive lungs will cause it to drop over dead before the miners notice any shortness of breath. When the bird stops singing … the miners head for the surface … fast. It is a life saving maneuver.

Here in 2013 as we start to implement the provisions of Obamacare and projections of physician shortages as high as 91,500 by 2020 come from respected sources, I believe we have a similar “coal mine” situation in healthcare.

Unfortunately, physicians appear to be the canary in the mine.


Tags: dike drummond, Physician burnout, physician coach, physician stress, physician shortage, affordable care act, canary in a coal mine, physician burnout matrix, obamacare

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