Category: Physician Stakeholders

“Next Level” Physicians

Check this out.  We have talked about this kind of thing before. But here it comes again. Physicians building “side gig” careers by helping other doctors design and build their own careers. This offering is slicker and more multi-faceted than some we have looked at in the past. AND. This one is geared just to female physicians. Watch Dr. Maisha’s video. It takes one minute. It talks about the importance of female physicians having dreams that guide their careers. Attend one of the free seminars listed. Explore the curricula. Why? Because this kind of activity is what growing numbers of our physician customers are pursuing. Learning entrepreneurship, which Maisha correctly points out is NOT taught in medical school.

Bottom Line. Exploring this site left me with two takeaways. First, I am thinking that programs like this, if done correctly and pursued assiduously, can be major antidotes for physicians who might otherwise succumb to burnout. Second, I am thinking that if this is where growing numbers of our customers are going to seek guidance,  we should be watching this trend closely.  

Maybe we should even get involved???

Learning Continuity Of Care

Here is something I hadn’t really thought a lot about. According to this blogging medical student’s astute observation, medical school is a largely fractured experience. One month of intense study in one rotation, then on to the next. How does a student learn continuity of care as she flits from Oncology to Pediatrics? Good question.  

And in this post, we see a good answer. Forward-thinking medical schools like Stanford have special “Continuity Clinics” that teach medical students important skills like how to develop long term relationships with patients, how a specific mentor deals with a multitude of different medical problems with a consistent style, etc.

Bottom Line. There is a very important general point being made here. Learning to be a “good” doctor involves more than just learning clinical skills. What other soft skills need to be incorporated in medical school training? How about skills that help the budding young doctors learn to plan their careers, avoid burnout, etc.?  

What “Compassion” Should An Emergency Room Provide?

Check this out. What you will see is an ER doc with a real dilemma. What he has in front of him is a homeless alcoholic who does not have a specific medical condition that would legitimate him occupying a bed in the Emergency Room for the night. The problem is, if he is discharged he will literally be out in the cold, sent to sleep on the frozen streets. BUT. The beds in the ER are full, and another patient might well show up needing the bed that “Mr. Green,” a frequent flyer in this ER, is currently occupying. Catch 22.  

What happens? He gets discharged, only to be wheeled back in by another EMS a few hours later to spend the night. 

Bottom Line. What is the point here? Simple. Physicians don’t just have to deal with “medical” problems. All kinds of societal issues make their ways into ER’s and doctors’ offices. Pharmaceutical companies claim that they want to be “customer-centric.” Then add the story above, and similar tales, to the list of things that your customers are thinking about as we go to them to sell our drugs.  

The Power Of Narrative Medicine

Check this out. What you will see is a piece that focuses on the importance of a physician allowing a patient to tell her story. Her whole story. For multiple reasons. As the Columbia narrative medicine website explains:

“The care of the sick unfolds in stories. The effective practice of healthcare requires the ability to recognize, absorb, interpret, and act on the stories and plights of others. Medicine practiced with narrative competence is a model for humane and effective medical practice. It addresses the need of patients and caregivers to voice their experience, to be heard and to be valued, and it acknowledges the power of narrative to change the way care is given and received.”

SO. Allowing the patient to tell her story, and listening carefully and acting accordingly, helps the practitioner to get valuable clues about a condition that might otherwise be missed. AND. It allows the patient to feel empowered and involved in her own healthcare. AND. It may even make the caregiver feel better about a warmer, friendlier approach to medicine, and perhaps be less prone to burnout as a result.

Bottom Line. We have talked often about the increasing focus on “efficiency” in the delivery of medical care. See more patients. In less time. I’ve got to believe that narrative medicine is one of the first things that will fall victim to a focus on increased clinical speed.

Sad!

A Picture of Strength

In this article, you will see Dr. Andrea Eisenberg, the Ob/Gyn pictured above, describe the first time she attended a patient’s funeral. Read the story. What you will see is the story of a doctor who did her level best to take care of a pregnant patient’s breast lump. BUT. The story did not have a happy ending.

Picture how she felt as she walked into this crowded viewing, open casket and all. Feel her gut tighten as she tried to mumble a few appropriate words to the patient’s husband. Takes a lot of guts! And, as she points out, this was far from the last dollop of emotional “burden” that she would have to carry during the course of her career.

Bottom Line. We spend a lot of time here talking about the practicalities of being a physician. Burnout, EMR’s, insurance pre-authorizations and miscellaneous bureaucratic nonsense. BUT. We can often forget the emotional costs wreaked by finding oneself responsible for a patient’s life. And potentially her death. 

I can’t imagine! 

Physicians as Entrepreneurs

Check this out. What you will see is a piece by a physician who, with a colleague, set up a “direct pay” primary care practice. After several years in this practice, it suddenly occurred to her that she is an entrepreneur. A new perspective opened up to her at that point. New literature to read. New ways of thinking about things. Her most important insights? Physicians and entrepreneurs both solve problems. AND. Physicians thinking like entrepreneurs are more likely than virtually anyone else to solve the problems bedeviling U.S. healthcare today.

Bottom Line. In a world where the ranks of “hospital administrators” are growing much faster than the phalanx of physicians, this doctor believes that it is time for doctors to jump outside the box. Think like entrepreneurs. If they are going to be making widgets, she believes, they should be focused on making better widgets.

Makes sense to me!      

The Osteopathic Oath

Check this out. What you will see is a riff by an osteopathic PCP on the difference between the osteopathic oath that she took and the Hippocratic oath taken by allopathic physicians. Got me to thinking. In the early days of my involvement with studying the psychology of physicians, I thought about Osteopaths as oddballs. Sort of a cross between an MD and a Chiropractor. As this doctor indicates in the “elevator speech” that begins her post, the 200 hours of training that DO’s receive in “manipulation” sort of threw me off in that direction. BUT. Over the years, I have seen the distinction between MD’s and DO’s break down. I started to see DO’s popping up in various medical specialties, like surgery, that are about as far from Chiropractic as you could possibly get.

BUT. When you look at this doctor’s elevator speech, compare the two oaths and look at the big picture, there are still differences. Osteopathy seems some how more holistic. More community oriented. More prone to believe in the human body’s ability to heal itself with some help, rather than to see the human body as an organism to be treated by an all-powerful physician.

A humorous aside. Decades ago, I was out in the field conducting depth interviews in support of one of my client’s upcoming launches of an NSAID. I had 10 members of the product team with me in Chicago that day, and we all showed up at the one-way mirror research facility at 7AM for the first interview. In came the first doctor, who was listed on the schedule as an Orthopedist. As the doctor began his introductory comments, he announced that he was in fact an Osteopath specializing in urology. Whoops.  End of interview. My clients and I were royally ticked, especially at that hour of the morning. When I approached the manager of the facility to discuss the faux pas, her response was a classic. “Orthopedist, Osteopath, same difference.” Wow!

Bottom Line. All kidding aside, I am wondering what pharmaceutical companies know about the Osteopath in 2018, and how she differs from the allopathic physician. I’m thinking a little Mindset Marketing ResearchSM might be called for here!

Ah, Maria Yang

We have forwarded you to her posts before. Here we go again. Maria has an uncanny ability to share with us the nuts and bolts of being an Inpatient Psychiatrist. In this post, she recounts one of many apparently interchangeable crazy nights when she had to deal simultaneously with a BIG MAN who believed that the only way to get attention is to make a lot of noise and to create a lot of trouble, and a PATIENT who somewhere along the line had learned to be very, well, patient.

Bottom Line. I have a question. As you listen to the BANG BANG BANG being tattooed out by the hands of the BIG MAN, ponder for a moment how physicians don’t go crazy themselves practicing in this kind of environment.

How indeed! 

The Risks That Come With Assembly Line Medicine

Check this out. Very reasonably, this blog questions whether medical practices should operate at the same speed as delicatessens do, grinding out patients/sandwiches as quickly as possible. In fact, she specifically identifies 5 risks of assembly line medicine. Things like treating only the presenting problem rather than having the opportunity to examine the whole patient, insufficient time for patients to develop relationships and trust, and yes, the physician burnout that comes with having to see too many patients too quickly.

Bottom Line. This blogging physician points out that unlike physician employees, doctors in private practices like hers can call their own cadence. BUT. Since reimbursement levels are remaining the same over time, she pays a price for having this latitude. 

Worth the price? Individual doctors clearly have to decide for themselves. 

THE FIVE THINGS DOCTORS FEAR THE MOST

Check this out. What you will see is an insightful discussion of the five most prominent fears that bedevil doctors. They include:

  1. Peniaphobia: The fear of being poor.
  2. Metathesiophobia: The fear of change.
  3. Politicophobia: The fear of politics.
  4. Hypengyophobia: The fear of being blamed.
  5. Atychiphobia: The fear of failure.

Think about this list for a moment. What do all of these fears have in common? Simple. In one way or another, each of these fears reflects a physician’s concern about uncertainty. Little wonder that in 2018 doctors would fear uncertainty. Look at the things that are going on around them. Fundamental changes in their compensation system, from volume to value, being a classic example.

Look way out on the cutting edge and think about the joint venture into healthcare involving Amazon, JP Morgan and Berkshire Hathaway. What impact will this alliance have on the average doctor’s practice?

Bottom Line. As we lay claim to being “customer centric,” it is important for us to come to grips with the fact that our physician customers are afraid. Afraid of the uncertainty that currently surrounds them in their daily lives, and what else might be coming their way. 

And well they should be. How can we help to assuage these concerns?