National Doctor’s Day (March 30) is a day reserved for all of us to honor physicians for the work they do.
As I set out to write an expression of gratitude to my fellow physicians in recognition of our day, I reflected on a personal experience I had just a few weeks ago that caused me to appreciate even more not only doctors, but also their family members.
In early March, my father had a stroke over a holiday weekend. I spent a week with him navigating and advocating his care in and out of the hospital. During that time, I had the sense that the physicians and nurses caring for him treated him and me the way they would treat their own loved ones. Whether it was with a kind word, a gesture of concern, or just a sympathetic smile, I could feel their caring in everything they did despite the long hours they were spending over a holiday weekend at the hospital.
Physicians are often unrecognized for the compassion and the altruism they bring to healthcare. They’re unsung heroes who touch so many people’s lives. What they do matters.
I want to thank physicians and more importantly, I want to thank their families. We all know doctors are selflessly rounding at the hospital and then spending hours at home typing their notes long after their workday should have ended. Physicians so often sacrifice their personal lives and family at home for their patients.
And we all know that the healthcare system is hard on doctors:
- Less than half of physicians would choose a career in medicine if they were able to do it all over again.1
- 73% of physicians would not recommend the profession to their children.2
- 54% of all physicians report some degree of burnout.3
One factor contributing to physician burnout is the way technology has been and is being inflicted upon them.
There’s a brokenness, a woundedness, of physicians and also nurses and everyone in healthcare. It’s an imperative for this country that we stand up and take notice now. We cannot wait any longer because we have burnt out a generation of clinicians.
The time is now to step up and design systems in healthcare that enable physicians to do what they were trained to do: to deliver the best possible care with compassion and empathy, and without undue burden.
A Taskforce to Support Physicians and Their Well-Being
Together with William J. Maples, M.D., and Ronald Paulus, M.D., MBA, we are leading a taskforce that is creating a blue print to help hospital leaders build an environment that supports physicians and their well-being. Dr. Maples is executive director for the Institute for Healthcare Excellence in Nebraska. Dr. Paulus is president and CEO at Mission Health in North Carolina.
The members of the task force are bringing their Roadmap for Restoring Joy and Purpose in Medicine to healthcare institutions around the country to help them begin to implement change.
Our belief is that we can create a system which will not burn out physicians so much that they forget a patient is somebody’s parent, somebody’s child, their brother or sister, or aunt or uncle. Instead, we can build a system in which all care team members support one another toward optimal healing outcomes.
Technology Should Enable Humanity, Not Hinder It
In my role as chief medical officer of Vocera, my passion is to figure out how technology can help ease the burden of being a physician or nurse and enable healing for everyone. We partner with physicians and nurses to help design the next generation of technology solutions that optimize physicians’ performance and clinical outcomes, and enhance resilience and well-being.
Vocera technology takes the hassle out of human-to-human interaction. It enables doctors to easily access people and information and to address patient needs through streamlined clinical communication and collaboration.
Technology can enable humanity or it can hinder it. At Vocera, we create technology that enables physicians to have sacred moments with their patients, empowers them to bring the best information and resources to bear, and enables them to help restore their patients to full life.
- Kristof, Kathy (2013, September 10) $1 million mistake: Becoming a doctor. Retrieved from https://www.cbsnews.com/news/1-million-mistake-becoming-a-doctor/
- Richards, Cindy (2016, February) Physician Burnout in America: A Roadmap for Restoring Joy and Purpose to Medicine. Retrieved from: http://cdn2.hubspot.net/hubfs/506577/HealingBringsMeJoy_Final_Print_secure.pdf
- Wei, Julie, MD; Rosen, Paul, MD, and Greenspan, Jay S., MD, MBA (2016) Physician Burnout: What Can Chairs, Chiefs, and Institutions Do? Retrieved from: http://www.jpeds.com/article/S0022-3476(16)30263-3/pdf