by Katherine Restrepo
Director of Health Care Policy, John Locke Foundation
“Physician happiness is inversely proportional to the amount of bureaucratic drag on their lives,” says Dr. Doug Farrago. Farrago, a recovering hospital-employed physician, was one of many influential speakers to address an audience of 250 physicians at a Direct Primary Care (DPC) conference that was recently held in Orlando, Florida.
Now a DPC physician, Farrago practices medicine different from the status quo. He no longer works for hospitals or for insurance companies. He works directly for his patients, offering them around-the-clock care in exchange for a $75 monthly fee. And because he sees fewer patients compared to the going average of 2,500 per physician, he can devote more attention to their individual health needs.
I’ve written a lot about the many benefits DPC brings to patients, but not enough on how the increasingly popular practice style is a pathway for primary care doctors to save themselves from physician burnout – an overarching theme that was discussed at length among conference attendees.
What burnout amounts to is a toxic amalgamation of many factors, inclusive of bureaucratic drag. According to a Medscape survey, physicians report that ‘too many bureaucratic tasks’ is the top reason that contributes to burnout. Another report released by Health Affairs describes that a physician’s workday is now split between direct patient care and computer data entry requirements – most of which are government-mandated and don’t always pertain to the patient’s condition at hand.
There are stories upon stories that are supportive of the statistical evidence behind physician burnout. One in particular that’s worth a read is captured by Forbes contributor Dave Chase.
Read it here, and learn about how the direct care model makes for happier physicians and happy patients.