Physician Burnout - What is the Real Prevalence Rate?

Posted by Dike Drummond MD

A new Family Practice study is showing only 25% prevalence of physician burnout. Does this much lower number create ...

  • a controversy

  • a "winner" in the "we're less burned out than you" derby

  • or just another data point

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There is a new -- and uniquely structured -- study in the Family Practice literature out this month showing a physician burnout prevalence rate of only 25% that is shaking up the widely accepted notion that over half of US doctors are most likely suffering from burnout.  (BTW, the background rate of burnout in the general population of non-physician professionals is widely quoted as being the same 25%)

Let me show you the three absolutely unique features of this research project which render it one-of-a-kind in the universe of physician burnout prevalence studies.  

This new study may be the first step in solving a mystery that has existed since the very first prevalence study was handed out over forty years ago.  I will show you this below as well. 

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Tags: Physician burnout, physician burnout survey, physician burnout prevalence

Physician Burnout: You don't get what you want in life ... you get this instead

Posted by Dike Drummond MD

Physician Burnout: You don't get what you want in life ... you get this instead.

Desire is an interesting and disempowering emotion. When you really, really, really want things to be different and you wake up the next day -- and it is exactly the same as yesterday -- well that is just disappointing to say the least. 

We all have desires, but longing - all by itself - is never sufficient to actually acquire:
- Possessions
- Respect
- Power / Autonomy / Money / A two week vacation or anything else
... except by luck or family obligation.

You can put your hands on your hips, stomp your feet and make demands, but only your mommy is likely to honor that "request" and have the power to give you what you want. And those days are long gone.

How does desire work in adults - and doctors specifically?

In an adult physician - working in a healthcare organization - what you want (your desires) are irrelevant. You can't simply want something new about your job into existence.

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Tags: Physician burnout

Stop Physician Burnout - how to reach out to a colleague in distress

Posted by Dike Drummond MD

Physician Burnout - how to reach out to a colleague in distress - [VIDEO TRAINING]

If you could save someone's life in a two minute conversation, would you speak up?

The situation I am talking about isn't even really a conversation most of the time. It is just you, caring enough to ask a question. If all it took was a question to save a person's life, would you ask it?

Would you ask even if it feels awkward, takes what feels like courage, might make them uncomfortable and you are not sure what to do if they reach back to you for support?

About twice a year I get asked to train a group of physicians for the worst reason possible. They want to learn about burnout because there as been a suicide on their medical staff recently. The people in the room who feel the worst about that are those who knew the doctor was in trouble and didn't reach out. They will take that pit of second guesses to their grave unfortunately.

We have an obligation to support our brothers and sisters in a time of need. Just find a good time, take your "hat" off and ask the simplest of questions. Here's a video to show you how ... 


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Tags: Physician burnout, physician burnout video training

Physician Burnout - how did Einstein get to be such an expert?

Posted by Dike Drummond MD

How did Einstein get to be a physician burnout expert?

If you want to lower your stress levels, build a more balanced life and an more Ideal Practice, remember these two quotes from Albert Einstein and there is literally nothing you can't change.


Einstein Quote #1:
"The definition of insanity is -- doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result."

Here is another way to say the same thing: If you always do what you've always done -- you will always get what you've always got.

The only way to change anything in your life is to take new actions.

Yes it is that simple.

  • Stop venting.
  • Decide what you really want.
  • Take a baby step in that direction.
  • Repeat.

Thank you Albert!

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Tags: Physician burnout, albert einstein, einsteins insanity definition

Physician Burnout PodCast - The Invisible Destroyer of Value and Quality

Posted by Dike Drummond MD

Physician Burnout PodCast - The Invisible Destroyer of Value and Quality 

Here is a podcast on a show called Relentless Healthcare Value hosted by Stacey Richter.

She asked some great questions and we went deep and wide into the Creative Destruction of Physician Burnout ... including both Canary and Coal Mine strategies for burnout prevention. Check it out.

USE THIS LINK to listen to the show ... it's a good one.

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Tags: Physician burnout, physician burnout podcast

A Quadruple Aim Culture Eats Physician Burnout for Breakfast

Posted by Dike Drummond MD

If there is a culture that eats physician burnout for breakfast, where do you find that restaurant and who is your server?
[ quick link to the answer]

There IS a culture capable of eating burnout for breakfast.

A healthy workplace culture is more than a Unicorn - something you have heard of but never actually seen. I have experienced it personally in sports and on work teams outside of healthcare. Even in high stress, difficult situations, that culture kept us connected, supporting and caring for each other. 

Unfortunately, the typical hostile, overloaded, Triple Aim whirlwind of a workplace culture in a healthcare organization will EAT YOU and your people for breakfast instead.


I invite you to put on your culture glasses for a moment. These are a lot like comic book X-ray spectacles -- only these lenses allow you to see the fabric of your workplace culture. Slide these glasses on and you can clearly see the informal attitudes and rules that govern the way we interact with each other while delivering patient care.

As you walk through your workplace, imagine your glasses can actually show you the answers to the questions below as thought bubbles above the heads of your people.

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Tags: Physician burnout, quadruple aim, physician leadership retreat

Physician Burnout - The Fatal Flaws in the Burnout Survey Industry

Posted by Dike Drummond MD

Physician Burnout - The Fatal Flaws in the Burnout Survey Industry

The measurement of physician burnout is turning into a big business in the USA lately. Millions of dollars are changing hands for burnout, engagement and physician satisfaction surveys created and sold by some of the biggest medical groups and consulting organizations in the healthcare industry. Mayo, the Advisory Board, the MGMA come to mind immediately.

Look a short way into the future and you can see how physician burnout scores could easily be turned into a quality indicator and a hurdle the government and other payors could require for payment. It is a short stride to your physician burnout score becoming a prerequisite of logging onto the EMR system in your organization. 

Let's face it ... if they could put a chip in your gluteus maximus to measure burnout directly and electronically beam it to the scorecard on your CMO's desktop computer ... THEY WOULD.

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Tags: Physician burnout, physician burnout survey, physician burnout prevalence, physician burnout prevalence survey

Physician Burnout - stop asking the wrong question

Posted by Dike Drummond MD

Physician Burnout - Stop Asking the Wrong Question

In this post you will learn a fundamental mistake all doctors (and physician leaders) make about burnout -- and how changing the questions you ask will make all the difference.

[HINT: Physician burnout is not a problem. When you stop looking for a solution you will see the simplicity of a burnout prevention plan that really works - for you, for your family and for your organization]


I am often asked,
"What is the SOLUTION to Physician Burnout?"

On the surface it would seem a natural question for any doctor or physician leader to ask ... right? It would be swell if there was a solution to this issue -- the one thing you can do one time -- to make physician burnout go away.

Unfortunately, that question contains an hidden assumption that messes everyone up right from the start. 

Asking for a Solution assumes physician burnout is a Problem

That assumption is where doctors and physician leaders set themselves up for struggle. Here is the truth:

  • Physician burnout is fundamentally NOT A PROBLEM
  • There is NO SOLUTION
  •  Asking that question will only lead you down a rabbit hole of dead ends and frustration
You can prevent and treat burnout, however you will need a different question altogether. Read More

Tags: Physician burnout

Physician Burnout - VUCA and the Trump Effect

Posted by Dike Drummond MD

Physician Burnout VUCA and the Trump Effect

HINT: none of this is good for physician well being 

One of the core factors driving physician stress levels and physician burnout in the USA is the CHAOS in the healthcare marketplace.

What used to be a simple world of seeing patients and billing insurance has morphed into EMR's, Meaningful Use, Volume to Value, MACRA, the Affordable Care Act and a blizzard of mergers and acquisitions that have turned even the average 50 bed hospital into a major physician employer. Independence and autonomy are out the window and who knows what Big Brother will demand of us next.

This chaos is stressful and adds to the risk of physician burnout

It is hard to feel certain about the future when your crystal ball has gone dark. It is hard to feel confident about your practice and your career when you are getting a paycheck from the third different organization in the last 6 years -- as the big fish gobble the little fish in many market places.

A very similar perfect storm of accelerated change happened in the US military in the 1990's when guerrilla tactics and crazy things like IED's and body bombs displaced orderly tank battles on the modern battlefield. After all, how do you feel confident as a commander in the field when you never know what is coming around the next corner. 

The Army War College came up with a new acronym for this crazy new reality. They call it ... Read More

Tags: Physician burnout, vuca

Physician Burnout in Britain - NHS invests 19M Pounds in new "burnout service"

Posted by Dike Drummond MD

Physician Burnout – British NHS Announces World’s First Government "Burnout Service"

The British National Health Service (NHS) has been having a very rough time lately. Despite always being mentioned as one of the top healthcare systems for cost effectiveness, they are fighting a running battle with rampant physician burnout and a near mutiny by providers. Here are just a few of the low points.

Now the government is attempting a turnaround

Last week the NHS announced that beginning in 2017 it will spend £19.5 million ($24M USD) in 2017 to treat burnout in General Practitioners (GP’s) nationwide.

(Here is the full article on the announcement)

The NHS announcement said:

“The service is the world’s first nationally-funded health service of its kind for general practice, a clear signal of NHS England’s commitment to help retain a healthy and resilient workforce and in supporting GPs and GP trainees who wish to remain in or return to clinical practice after a period of ill health.”

The service is described as follows:

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Tags: Physician burnout, British NHS

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