Investing in Physician Wellbeing brings a Dual Competitive Advantage

Posted by Dike Drummond MD

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

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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.

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

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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 not to go to the doctor or hospital until we FIGURE THIS OUT?????

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

Stop Physician Burnout - is Physician Resilience Training a "Con"

Posted by Dike Drummond MD

Stop Physician Burnout - is Physician Resilience Training a "Con Job?"

An article on physician suicide in junior Australian doctors this week contained the following bold statement:

'She was eaten alive'

The "con" of building physician resilience has left junior doctors vulnerable to mental illness and suicide by ignoring the systemic failures of the medical professionSpeaking at a session on mental health and wellbeing in Sydney alongside Health Minister Brad Hazzard, Ms Micaela Abbott said her sister was "eaten alive" by the medical profession. 

Dr. Chloe Abbott was 29 and a fourth-year doctor-in-training when she died in January, one of several recent suicides by doctors that prompted the Health Minister and the medical profession to act. 

"My family had really detested the term 'resilience'," Ms Abbott said, recounting her sister's fortitude as a champion swimmer who represented Australia in international competition. 

"That's not something you can do without resilience," she told the crowd of students about to join the profession that Dr Abbott's family and colleagues believed contributed to her death. "

Here is the full article:

It, of course, begs the question -- is the concept of Physician Resilience a con job to defend a hostile work environment?

The answer is Yes and No.

Resilience is necessary but insufficient to prevent physician burnout and hard wire the Quadruple Aim into the workplace.

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Tags: Physician burnout, physician resilience

Physician Resilience – a Stronger Canary is Never Enough

Posted by Dike Drummond MD

Physician Resilience – a stronger canary is never enough

 In my work with thousands of over-stressed physicians and over 140 healthcare organizations, I have learned one lesson over and over -

Resilience training alone is not sufficient to rein in the epidemic of physician burnout.

If you believe like I do that physicians are the canary in the coal mine of medicine.

Then it is clear the epidemic of physician burnout is an indictment of the conditions of the mine, not the resilience of the canary.

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Click Here for The Quadruple Aim Blueprint
Organization-Wide Burnout Prevention Strategy
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If you focus on physician resilience training and don’t de-stress the workplace at the same time, you are missing half the leverage points to prevent physician burnout. You are focused only on building a stronger canary and sending the message that it is every provider is on their own – no one has their back – on this job site.

I define resilience training as the acquisition of any burnout prevention tool the physician puts to their own individual use. The tool increases the physician’s resilience in the face of the stresses of their practice and workplace systems.

Training to promote physician resilience has value, however that value is limited by the following three factors:

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Tags: Physician burnout, canary in a coal mine, physician resilience

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