Improving Physician Wellness by Addressing Decision Fatigue

By Ami Ami B. Bhatt, MD, FACC
April 12, 2018

Physician burnout continues to be a significant concern for the medical workforce. Importantly, it can also affect patient experience (encompassing both quality and safety of care). Over half of United States physicians report at least one symptom of burnout including a decrease in empathy, decreased self-worth, and emotional exhaustion. Whereas the original research from several years ago suggested that front-line physicians in the primary care and emergency medicine space are at greatest risk, we now know that burnout is seen in many medical specialties. Not only do half of US physicians report being “burned out,” an equal percentage would not recommend a career in medicine to their children.1, 2 Continue reading “Improving Physician Wellness by Addressing Decision Fatigue”

Doctors and Patients—Treating Chronic Pain As a Team

By Peter Grinspoon, MD
April 5, 2018

[Part three of a three-part series.]

As a profession, we can best navigate this complex thicket by returning to a basic, simple principle: the patient comes first.

As an undergraduate philosophy major, I learned that a moral system was flawed if a situation could present itself where a person could do no right. When it comes to providing pain medications, and treating chronic pain patients, doctors can feel as if their moral universe is broken. We are assailed on all sides. Bureaucrats try to restrict our prescribing and intimidate or harass us into not prescribing opiates. Patients rage at us when we can’t or don’t prescribe these medications. The end result can be a rupture in the thing that most of us value above all else: the doctor-patient bond. Continue reading “Doctors and Patients—Treating Chronic Pain As a Team”

Addressing Physician Burnout as a Health Care Systems Issue

By Ted A James, MD, MHCM, FACS
March 29, 2018

Burnout is an all too common phenomenon that needs to be on the radar of all health care leaders. In addition to serious personal consequences, burnout poses a significant threat to patient care and negatively impacts organizational performance. Continue reading “Addressing Physician Burnout as a Health Care Systems Issue”

Advocating for Societal Health: An Open Letter to Physicians

By Scott Shainker, DO, MS
& Toni Golen, MD

March 22, 2018

If each of us does something, the impact we will make on achieving health will have the greatest legacy on the well being of society.

Fellow physicians, how do you define health?

We don’t believe it is merely about controlling the blood pressure of a 60-year-old patient or removing the infected appendix of a college student; rather, we as physicians need to have a deeper definition of health. Continue reading “Advocating for Societal Health: An Open Letter to Physicians”

The Harried Doctor & Chronic Pain Patients

By Peter Grinspoon, MD
March 8, 2018

[Part two of a three-part series.]

Why do so many healthcare providers find it difficult to treat chronic pain patients? I have not seen colleagues roll their eyes or audibly groan upon hearing that a patient that is new to their panel has diabetes or cancer, so what is it about a pain patient on opiates that fills so many with dread? Continue reading “The Harried Doctor & Chronic Pain Patients”

Caring for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Patients and Families

By Carl G Streed Jr, MD
March 1, 2018

According to a recent national survey by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, 18 percent of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) Americans do not seek medical care for fear of discrimination. The results highlight an ongoing dilemma in healthcare; we cannot provide competent and compassionate care for those who fear us. Continue reading “Caring for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Patients and Families”

Intrinsic Motivation Engages Clinicians in Health Care Transformation

Ted A James, MD, MHCM, FACS
February 22, 2018

Although it is important to ensure appropriate remuneration, financial incentives alone are a poor substitute for giving clinicians the tools, knowledge, and training needed to improve quality.

Transforming health care requires leaders to inspire collaboration in the process of care redesign and change long established norms. This is one of the greatest challenges for leaders. Unfortunately, health care continues to weigh heavily on the carrot-and-stick model to incentivize clinicians to engage with strategic priorities. Physician compensation models, pay-for-performance, and related financial incentives rely on extrinsic motivation to achieve change, and their impact to date has been limited.1 Continue reading “Intrinsic Motivation Engages Clinicians in Health Care Transformation”