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  • Chuck Hulse

Five Ways to Improve Physicians Lives

What do you get when you put a doctor, an attorney, former hospital CEO and couple group practice administrators together for lunch? A great conversation about how organizations might improve the lives of physicians. The 2017 MedMan University (mmU) provided the setting for the exchange of ideas that can help stem the tide of physician dissatisfaction. The root cause has been well documented - the untenable burden of administrative duties that detract from the satisfaction of direct patient care. The 2016 Merritt Hawkins/Physicians Foundation sponsored survey documents that “patient relationships” ranks highest among the factors cited as being most satisfying about medical practice. Also, cited was “interactions with colleagues”. It was noteworthy however, that in 2016 physicians cited “interactions with colleagues” less often than the prior year and significantly less often when compared to 2008. Leadership discipline begs us to ask the question “where is the opportunity”?

The lunch discussion advanced several very tangible considerations for restoring physician satisfaction. To be sure, much of the effort rests with the individual physician ( a talk being developed by Dr. Ted Epperly, MedMan Board member ), however organizations can, and will, play an important role with this turnaround. Our professional roundtable at mmU submitted these suggestions for organizations to consider:

  1. Set aside time and create forums for physicians to connect with one another. With the hospital being less centric for care delivery, doctors can lose their connection with the medical community, and the shared purpose of caring for a community of patients. MedMan clients consistently agree that annual planning sessions provide a great opportunity to get reconnected. An annual planning meeting, annual staff appreciation gathering, and outdoor activities like mountain biking are a few ideas to start your thinking.

  2. Vacation is not optional – organizations should eliminate policies that allow unused vacation time to be carried forward to the next year. Particularly, if the accumulated time can be paid out as additional compensation.

  3. When the physician expresses irritation with “too many clicks”, believe them and “lean” your way to a better process.

  4. Develop Job Share opportunities. It is well documented that Millennials are valuing work life balance. Two people doing the job of one may be a tad more expensive, although preserving and building revenue could clearly be an offset.

  5. Improve the work environment with stand up desks, aroma therapy, or a meditation room.

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