Physician Burnout and COVID-19 - Let the Hamster Wheel Olympics Begin

Posted by Dike Drummond MD

And get ready to run like never before 

If you haven't heard yet, your organization just had its worst three months in history -- yet another COVID-19 driven contribution to physician burnout.

i) If you are a practice owner, this reality has been keeping you up at night for weeks.

ii) If you are an employee physician and you don't already know about the smoking crater that is your organization's financial statement, your leaders are hiding the financials from you in a fine example of #badleadership.

iii) And if your organization somehow managed to avoid a massive loss in the last 90 days - either you are a full risk/capitated provider (Kaiser Permanente) or you got very, very lucky.

For healthcare delivery organizations relying on fee-for-service payment contracts, things have never been this bad.

Their profit margin just went from single digit positive to a giant sucking sound. Even the Mayo Clinic is projecting a 3 BILLION dollar loss in 2020.

This is Blog Post #335
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Now we have some potential GOOD NEWS !

Now we are seeing a little flicker of light at the end of the COVID-19 tunnel. 


Tags: Physician burnout, physician leadership, healthcare delivery organizations

The Long Tail of COVID-19 Crisis Leadership - Your Organization's Future is Now

Posted by Dike Drummond MD

Attention Senior Healthcare Leaders - your personal leadership response to this COVID-19 crisis will lock in the culture of your teams for the next 5 years.

  • The tail is long
  • The time for leadership is now
  • How are you showing up?

When the pandemic forces your people to strap on their PPE for each shift, putting themselves at daily risk to serve the sick and dying - they are watching for any signs that someone has their back. 

If I asked them, would they say you are doing a fantastic job in this hurricane? 

This is Blog Post #325
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Are you stepping up to the challenge, maximizing your efforts to be the kind of leader people want to follow?

  • Do you have a clear understanding of what is going on in the trenches?
  • Are you are doing everything you can to give your people the tools to do their job right?
  • Are you present, visible and in daily communication - in person when possible and by every virtual means at your disposal if you cannot be there in person?
  • Have you personally said Thank You to every one of your team members in the last week?
  • Are you are rallying the troops and visiting the fallen?


Are you simply doubling down on the usual administrative punch list -- in meetings, putting out fires -- invisible to your people in the Emergency Departments, Urgent Cares, wards, wings and isolation facilities. Meetings are important ... and completely insufficient in times like these.

fundamental currency


What you do or don't do now - will be burned into the memory of everyone around you in the years ahead.

When the chips were down ... did you have my back?

Or were you AWOL and invisible in the ivory towers and management silos of the professional administrator?


Tags: physician leadership, stop physician burnout, covid19

Quadruple Aim Physician Leadership Retreat 2020 Dates are Set

Posted by Dike Drummond MD

The Training and Support to become an Effective Physician Wellness Champion

Our 2020 dates are set for both Spring and Fall deliveries of the Quadruple Aim Physician Leadership Retreat. Check your schedule now to see which date works for you.  

Get Complete Retreat Details Here
Including How to SAVE $500 as an Early Bird

If you are being called to lead the Physician Wellness movement, this unique training and comprehensive support system are keys to your effectiveness.


Tags: physician wellness, physician leadership, quadruple aim, physician wellness champion

The ClusterF*ck of the Modern Physician Burnout Epidemic

Posted by Dike Drummond MD

What would you say about an industry that reliably burns out half of their most valuable workers ...

  • Workers that take over a decade to train
  • Are the point of origin for 100% of gross revenue
  • And for which there is already a massive shortage that will get much worse in the near future

This same industry clearly understands that physician burnout harms and kills patients and doctors and has a massive negative effect on the organization's bottom line.

What words are most appropriate to describe such insane behavior? [even Lemmings would appear to be more interested in their own survival]

When you realize the job demands on the average doctor are a clear and present danger to the doctors, the staff and their patients, it is not uncommon for the term ClusterF*ck to come to mind. Sometimes you will even let it slip with your outside voice ... right?

BTW, if you are a healthcare leader,
upset or moved to action by the gist of this blog post
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Hang on a second, is that term even accurate?

Follow along with me as we explore the semantics and I give you 5 simple ways to begin clawing your organization out of this morass ... no matter what you personally call it.


Tags: physician leadership, stop physician burnout, healthcare leadership

Does the Healthcare Industry Exploit Doctors?

Posted by Dike Drummond MD

Does the Healthcare Industry Exploit Doctors? 

Dr. Danielle Ofri - author of the book What Doctors Feel - wrote a groundbreaking piece in the New York Times this week entitled: The Business of Health Care Depends on Exploiting Doctors and Nurses

In the article she writes:
"Counting on nurses and doctors to suck it up because you know they won’t walk away from their patients is not just bad strategy. It’s bad medicine." 
We couldn't agree more.

Unfortunately, her article then crashes and burns in an impossible recommendation that half of all US Healthcare Administrators be fired, because:
"If we converted even half of those salary lines to additional nurses and doctors, we might have enough clinical staff members to handle the work."
Duh! AND I think we agree no organization is going to take her up on that change in business model. 

Stop The Madness

Help Us Lead the Physician Wellness Movement
Quadruple Aim Physician Leadership Retreat
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In this post let me show you

  • Why we agree with Dr. Ofri that physician exploitation is built into the industrial practice of medicine

  • Some simple Case Study examples of exploitation from our thousands of hours of physician burnout coaching client files

  • The Triple Competitive Advantage if your Leadership Team STOPS Exploiting the Doctors and begins to Practice the Quadruple Aim Instead


Tags: dike drummond, physician leadership, stop physician burnout, quadruple aim, physician exploitation, exploit doctors

Mayo's Physician Burnout Survey 2017 data is in and the third shoe drops

Posted by Dike Drummond MD

Mayo's physician burnout super-study finally released their third round of data from the 2017 survey.

The third shoe has dropped, but what does it all mean??

This was that infamous first study documenting burnout rates above 50% in US physicians in Mayo Clinic Proceedings using US physician burnout surveys performed in 2011 and 2014 compared to burnout in the general US population.

It is probably the single most important data point in the birth of the movement to track and address burnout in physicians. That movement has spread far and wide since 2011, culminating in the current wave of industry-wide confabs like the NAM Action Collaborative on Clinician Wellbeing and Resilience.

This is Blog Post #292
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Since 2014 we have been waiting patiently for that third round of surveys to report out. Show us the 2017 data please, please, please ... and here it is.


Tags: physician leadership, physician burnout survey, stop physician burnout

Silly things Physician Leaders say about Physician Burnout - Part Two

Posted by Dike Drummond MD

"Everything was O.K. around here until you showed up"

This is Blog Post #280

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This is Part Two of a series of 
Silly Things Physician Leaders Sometimes Say

Someone in the senior leadership team will often aim that comment at you after the successful launch of your burnout prevention program. I consider it a healthy sign for your organization. Senior leaders do not always share my viewpoint. 

Here is the simple - and silly - thinking behind that statement:

  • Before your burnout prevention program launch no one talked about stress and burnout.
  • Now everyone is talking about it and offering suggestions for improvements. 
  • So it must be your fault, right?

Tags: prevent physician burnout, physician leadership

Invest in Physician Wellbeing for a Triple Competitive Advantage

Posted by Dike Drummond MD

The Business Case for Investing in Physician Wellbeing - a Triple Competitive Advantage for Early Adopters

This is Blog Post #279

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In 2017 an article in JAMA Internal Medicine by Shanafelt, Goh and Sinsky (JAMA Intern Med. 2017;177(12):1826-1832) made a comprehensive business case for investing in physician well-being. I highly recommend the article. The UCSD HEAR Program has mounted the full PDF document at this link. I recommend you read and absorb every word - and notice your frustration when there are no action steps.

In this blog post let me show you a different way of looking at the benefits to the organization when you take better care of your physicians and staff. 

An effective burnout prevention / physician wellbeing program will provide a rapid, direct and measurable - Triple Competitive Advantage - to Your Organization. 

Key Resource: 
Physician Wellness Champion  School
The Quadruple Aim Physician Leadership Retreat
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The Current State of Affairs

For the individual physician burnout can cause emotional and physical exhaustion, compassion fatigue, cynicism, loss of a sense of purpose in their practice, depression, alcohol and drug use, divorce, shortening of their career and even doubles all physician's risk of dying of suicide - regardless of their gender.

Organizational symptoms of burnout include decreased quality of care and patient satisfaction, higher medical error rates, higher rates of malpractice suits, physician disengagement, dissatisfaction and disruptive behavior and higher turnover for both physicians and staff.

Remember too that burnout prevalence in US physicians in the last 4 years or so has hovered at 50% or more regardless of what group of physicians have been surveyed. Now notice something else ... 

How is it you can read those paragraphs and NOT BE PULLING YOUR HAIR OUT and telling your friends and family -->

"Do Not go to your doctor or hospital until we FIGURE THIS OUT"


Tags: Physician burnout, physician leadership, physician resilience, physician wellbeing

Stop Physician Burnout - Organizations Doomed to Fail if They Only Treat Burnout Symptoms

Posted by Dike Drummond MD

Stop Physician Burnout - Treating the Symptoms only Makes Burnout Worse

This is Blog Post #276
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Physician burnout has two sets of symptoms

  • One for the Doctor - the personal signs and symptoms that YOU are suffering from burnout as an individual
  • One for the Organization - the various way rising levels of physician burnout destroy the performance and morale of a population of healthcare providers

For the individual physician, here is one of our most popular posts on burnout's symptoms and gender differences.

In this blog post, let me show you three quick observations from our work with over 140 healthcare organizations and societies to date:

  • The common organizational symptoms of burnout
  • How and why most groups only treat the symptoms of provider burnout
  • And why just treating the symptoms inevitably makes everything worse

Tags: physician leadership, stop physician burnout

Silly things physician leaders say about Physician Burnout - Part One

Posted by Dike Drummond MD

"We can't talk about physician burnout, everyone will go part time"

This is Blog Post #275
Complete Blog Library is Here

This article kicks off a mini-series of blog posts documenting my experience of Silly Things Physician Leaders Say About Physician Burnout. This first example is a great place to begin - a surprisingly frequent CMO/CEO exclamation - often used as justification for continued attempts to ignore the obvious presence of physician burnout.

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"We can't talk about physician burnout, everyone will go part time"

That is a major subconscious fear of some healthcare administrators and physician leaders. Sometimes they will actually say these same words to your face. If you happen to be the wellness champion in your organization, that statement is usually part of a paragraph that includes "things were OK around here until you showed up".


Tags: physician wellness, physician leadership, stop physician burnout

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