Back From Burnout

On April 2, I had the opportunity to deliver an Intellus Webinar to 51 participants. If you missed it, it is available here. There we were, all 52 of us each cocooned in our home offices in our sweat pants, discussing physician burnout while the COVID-19 pandemic swirled around us outside. I suggested that the attendees should consider the survey data on burnout that I would be presenting during the  webinar as the “before” picture. Much of it was collected in the first few months of 2020, i.e., before all hell broke loose. During recent weeks, we have seen the very nature of physician burnout change. In the good old days, i.e., a few short months ago, doctors were mostly “burned out” by administrative hassle. EMR’s, pre-auth requirements, etc. Now, physicians are being more literally burned out by working long shifts in ER’s and ICU’s, treating patients they know full well might infect them and, by proxy, their families.  

During the session, I discussed a great irony in all of this. Dr. Frank Grabin was a two-time cancer survivor, ER physician and the author of the book pictured above. He had made it back from the old-fashioned kind of burnout, and had written a best-selling book telling other physicians about his journey back from the dark side. The irony? He died the day before our Webinar of the new kind of physician burnout. COVID-19.

Bottom Line. As I sit here today, I am slowly but surely coming to the realization that this pandemic will change the psychology of our HCP customers forever. Will the new burnout replace the old? Will it simply layer on top of it, or multiply it? We had best start to spend some time studying these changes and developing a plan to deal with them in the world of the “new normal.”  

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