by Katherine Restrepo
Director of Health Care Policy, John Locke Foundation
When medicine is compared to other professions that require extensive education, doctors are at a higher risk of burnout. Specialties like emergency and family medicine are even more likely to suffer.
A major factor of burnout is “bureaucratic drag” – a toxic amalgamation of administrative demands that erodes the physician-patient relationship. It’s time spent on getting approval from insurance companies to prescribe medications or request an MRI. It’s time wasted by physicians proving to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) that their government-certified electronic health record (EHR) is effectively tracking patient care. It’s frustrated clinics waiting to receive either a bonus or “negative payment adjustment” on quality metrics submitted to Medicare. It’s the pressure to see more patients in less time.
What’s most alarming is that bureaucratic medicine is killing doctors. Physicians are twice as likely to commit suicide compared to the U.S. population. It’s a sad reality to face when the profession loses over 300 doctors per year to suicide. These are gifted people who are trained to save the lives of others, yet who struggle to save their own.
Read my latest at Forbes on how doctors are finding ways to save themselves from their own profession.