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Physician Burnout Is The Biggest Threat To Healthcare Reform

It was supposed to be delayed gratification.

After all, that’s the American way: work hard, put your nose to the grindstone, get good grades, be obsessively perfectionistic, then you’ll be rewarded if you just stay with it long enough. It’s the myth that perpetuated through medical school, residency and fellowship, and our poor residents, purposefully shielded from the workload they’re about to inherit, march on.

But then they graduate and find that just as the population is aging, chronic and infectious diseases are becoming more challenging, health advances and potential are exploding. Just then, we decide to launch a full scale attack on physicians and their patients with increased documentation requirements, call hours, larger geographic coverage of their specialties, reduced ancillary workforce, and shorter patient vists.

Physicians get it – burn out and dissatisfaction are higher now than ever before. This is probably the greatest real threat to the doctor-patient relationship and health care reform discussions don’t even put it this on the table.

At the same time that we expect our doctors to be devoted, available, enthusiastic, meticulous and at the top of their game with perfect “quality” and “perfect performance,” while simultaneously cutting their pay, increasing documentation reqirements and oversight, limiting independence, questioning their professional judgment, and extending their working hours. We must become more efficient!

Deal?

*This blog post was originally published at Dr. Wes*


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