Stop Physician Burnout - Two Kinds of Habits - Beyond Good and Bad

Posted by Dike Drummond MD

"The secret to permanently breaking any bad habit is to love something greater than the habit." ~ Bryant McGill

This is Blog Post #282

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Habits are powerful behavior patterns with predictable results. To change your practice and your quality of life, you must change your habits.

Repeat the Same Action => You will always get the Same Result
That is a Habit and that is also Einstein's Insanity Trap.

Some Habits produce desirable results.
We call those Good Habits

Some Habits produce undesirable results.
We typically call those Bad Habits - weaknesses, foibles, character flaws, "the human condition", addictions, Achille's heels.

These are both habits of DOING
Things You DO that are either good or bad


Tags: stop physician burnout, habits, einsteins insanity definition

Why did we let Electronic Medical Records cause Physician Burnout? It should have been a simple Staffing Issue.

Posted by Dike Drummond MD

Every time you survey a group of physicians on their biggest stressors, Electronic Medical Records is a clear #1.

Why is that? Why are the implementation of electronic medical records and the dramatic increase in physician burnout synchronous?

This is Blog Post #281

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In my work with over 140 healthcare organizations to date, the answer is plain as day on nearly every job site I have visited:

This is simple OVERWHELM - in the front lines of patient care, there is too much work and not enough hands on deck

The whirlwind of EMR has destroyed many physician's ability to be effective at the point of care. It is a constant distraction to quality decisions, effective communication and a clear threat to the health and wellbeing of the physicians and their staff members.

Key Resource:
The Burnout Prevention Strategy Engine

Electronic Medical Records and other sources of digital overload (texts, email, patient portals, cell phone apps) have changed the nature of a physician's work and massively increased the number of tasks at the point of care. Studies show doctors spend up to two hours in the EMR for every hour of face time with patients.

It would be No Big Deal if the healthcare industry had done the most appropriate thing ... increased staffing levels to handle the increased workload. With rare exception, employers have simply dumped the data entry responsibilities on the doctors and other front line staff.

This is a completely avoidable crisis.

Ineffective management of digital overload has turned EMR into a Physician Burnout Issue ...
when it should simply be a Staffing Issue !!


Tags: stop physician burnout, electronic medical records, emr, Team Based Care

The Whirlwind of the Practice of Medicine - Seven Ways to Step Out

Posted by Dike Drummond MD

All doctors practice medicine from within the center of a powerful whirlwind

This is Blog Post #278
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Your practice is a mini-tornado of:

  • Repetitive actions with your patients and staff
  • Thousands of clicks and keystrokes in documentation
  • Competing demands for your attention from email/text/voicemail
  • And dozens of decisions, some of which actually involve life and death

And that's a slow day ... right?

It is a legitimate whirlwind - a Dorothy-on-the-Kansas-prairie twister that can tie you up in knots and even make you forget you forgot lunch ... sometimes. That same whirlwind is a core cause of physician burnout too.

Our Complete Burnout Prevention Tools Library

How is Your Whirlwind Feeling These Days?

You get to decide how satisfied you are with your practice. You can do that right now quite simply - even though you have been conditioned to NOT ask yourself questions like these:


Tags: stop physician burnout, physician practice satisfaction, einsteins insanity definition

Stop Physician Burnout Key Personal Defense Skills Podcast with Taylor Brana MD at TheHappyDoc

Posted by Dike Drummond MD

Physician Burnout Key Personal Defense Skills Podcast - Complete Your Medical Education 

This is Blog Post #277
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Lower your stress levels, build more life balance and a more Ideal Practice. Complete your medical education and learn to recognize and prevent burnout in yourself and others.

Had a really good first conversation with Taylor Brana over at TheHappyDoc. In it we go over a number of the basic patterns in burnout risks and burnout prevention we have learned in our work with thousands of burned out physicians in our coaching practices. Great to be able to share and Taylor is allowing me to mount the podcast here on our website as well. Enjoy,




Tags: stop physician burnout, physician burnout podcast

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: stop physician burnout, physician leadership

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
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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: stop physician burnout, physician wellness, physician leadership

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

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

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: physician suicide, stop physician burnout

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