In a previous article, “How to Transition Your Practice into Telemedicine,” a few statistics about physician burnout were mentioned. Those numbers showed that burnout amongst physicians is increasing at an alarming rate.
To recapitulate: In 2013, 40% of doctors reported feelings of burnout. In 2017, that number jumped to 51%.
Physician burnout is a phenomenon we have either experienced first-hand or have witnessed a colleague endure. The signs are evident: loneliness, helplessness, self-doubt, and stress, to name a few. We physicians aren’t the only ones taking notice of our own overworked lives. In June of this year, the World Health Organization formally identified “burnout” as a medical condition.
Is Physician Burnout a medical condition?
As a group of medical doctors, inevitably not all of us will agree with the “medical condition” labeling that has been proposed. What is virtually unanimous is the appreciation that physician burnout is an overwhelming mindset that infiltrates not only our lives, but the experiences and outcomes of our patients, families, and friends.
This crisis needs to be recognized.
Physicians maintain a highly-rewarding but increasingly-demanding role. We have the privilege of guiding patients while helping them navigate some of their most complex and vulnerable physical, mental, and social situations. Physicians are also able to ensure their patients that what they found after Googling their symptoms is not what’s wrong with them.
We are also put in the position of talking to patients who do have debilitating, chronic illnesses, and those who are enduring the most challenging life circumstances. We have the responsibility of treating those who do have incurable diseases.
Although there remains the under-celebrated, positive outcomes and “victories” we enjoy in medicine, there also remains a lot of negative energy. This energy stems from human suffering, lack of resources or time, bureaucratic mandates, and expectations to provide the best possible “customer service”. This dark cloud weighs on us and is one of the leading causes of physician burnout.
Physicians are, indeed, human too, and the breaking point has unfortunately been surpassed by many.
How can it be treated?
The world has become increasingly complex. With each passing day, we seem to be getting busier and more consumed with the things we enjoy less. It’s rare for someone to work a traditional 40 hour work week and even more atypical that a patient has the time to spend sitting in your waiting room while you take the time to thoroughly care for others.
Workloads are getting heavier and expectations have become insurmountable. In our on-demand world where instant gratification is the norm, patients demand answers now. On top of that, they require expert customer service.
How are we supposed to keep up and meet these unrealistic expectations? How can we properly diagnose and treat our patients when the window of availability is shrinking?
Through telemedicine, not only will your patients celebrate shorter wait times and enjoy the convenience of taking their appointment anywhere with an Internet connection, but you will also sense the relief in their tone and positive response to this offering. No more walk-outs after lengthy waiting room stays. No more disgruntled, contagious patients in the exam room, opening the door to poke their head out and ask how much longer until they see their doctor.
A solution has arrived for you and your patients.
Want help ridding yourself of physician burnout?
Becoming a doctor used to be one of the most prestigious and aspirational professions, but the medical profession has started to lose that level of respect and prestige. This is not because the work has become any less important, but because of the administrative headaches, the substantial accrual of debt, the malpractice environment, and the tireless work hours often at lower compensation rates.
Parents are increasingly steering their children into other occupations. These parents see what today’s doctors are going through and want to save them from the…well, the burnout.
If the processes and expectations of the medical profession do not change, neither will these surging levels of physician burnout.
If you’d like to learn more about creating a better work-life balance and enjoying your career once again, let us help you discover your potentials. During our retreats, we teach and provide insights into how to incorporate telemedicine into your practice. Additionally, we practice what we preach! Each session ends at noon so you can expect to have plenty of time to relax and enjoy the offerings of the exotic retreat destination.