Wellness of Medical Professionals

Healthcare Professionals: Stop Burnout and Reclaim Joy of Medicine and Family

COMS has initiated a plan to provide support and services to physicians, physician assistants, and nurse practitioners who are challenged in coping with the demands of current practice To accomplish this, the COMS Executive Committee has been working with the Oregon Wellness Coalition.

To access the COMS Wellness Program, click here.

Bend Bulletin Report on Healthcare Professional Burnout in Central Oregon

A comprehensive review of the healthcare professional burnout challenge in Central Oregon by Markian Hawryluk was published in The Bulletin on February 23, 2018.  

Click here to review.

Pease/Pariser Symposium, Nov. 2-3, 2017: Operation Stress Removal

The meeting book posted here identifies the presenters and all the slides they showed at the symposium, as well as a history of the health professional wellness organization in Oregon, the status of the COMS Wellness program, a complete peer-reviewed medical literature bibliography for the 1st 8 months of 2017, and a Bend Bulletin editorial by one of our COMS members.  It's a valuable resource for all healthcare professionals, including MDs, DOs, PAs, PsyDs, DMDs, DDSs, NPs, RNs, DVMs, and PhDs in healthcare, regardless of geographic location (at least in the U.S.).

To access the COMS Wellness Program, click here or title.

What I’ve Learned From My Tally of 757 Physician Suicides

Pam Wible, MD, Eugene, describes her experience in trying to understand why medical professionals commit suicide at such a high rate, and how to prevent them. It takes all of us. To read her report in the Washington Post, click here or the title.

Licensure Forms & Physician Reluctance to Seek Mental Health Care

According to a study at the Mayo Clinic (Dyrbye LN, et al. Mayo Clin Proc. October 2017;92(10):1486-93):

•Nearly 40% of physicians (2325 of 5829) reported that they would be reluctant to seek formal medical care for treatment of a mental health condition because of concerns about repercussions to their medical licensure.

•Physicians working in states in which medical licensure application questions inquire broadly about current or past diagnosis or treatment of a mental health condition, past impairment from a mental health condition, or presence of a mental health condition that could affect competency were 21% to 22% more reluctant to seek help.

•Physicians who worked in states in which questions on medical licensure applications asked only about current impairment from a mental health condition or included no question pertaining to mental health were less reluctant and thus may be more likely to seek and receive care if the need arose.

Oregon’s  medical license application appears to be the worst in the West in inhibiting help-seeking (cf. map).

Patients and Providers Have to Work Together

Mike Henderson, DO  |  The Bulletin  |  October 22, 2017

Have you noticed that your doctor, dentist or other health care provider is spending less time with you? Are they looking at a monitor more than you, not listening, and writing prescriptions instead?
If not, you are fortunate, since the majority of physicians — 54% of 6,880 interviewed in 2014 — experience burnout, and the proportion is steadily worsening.
If you have become increasingly frustrated with health care here in Central Oregon, know that the practice of medicine has become increasingly challenged with more bureaucracy, documentation, insurance hurdles, clerical work, regulations and competition. Know that physicians and dentists commit suicide at twice the rate as comparable, non-physician adults.
One of the primary causes of burnout is the electronic medical records system, which demands that a health care provider spend more time with a computer than with patients. Data input has trumped the provision of the associated health care services it is supposed to reflect. To add insult to injury, the records produced muddy the clinical picture — subsequent readers are challenged to follow the clinical reasoning of the author. Outside the office, clinicians spend another one-to-two hours of personal time each night on non-clinical computer and clerical work.
Another factor is that insurance companies do not negotiate reimbursement rates in good faith. The contracts physicians sign do not specify reimbursement rates. Reimbursement and denial of payment are discovered only after services are rendered. ...

Click here to read the entire editorial

The Oregon Coalition for Healthcare Professionals Enhancement

The long held tradition of the physicians’ creed is that we do not need help, that we march forward, unaffected by personal failures or professional setbacks. And we are to devote fully to our patients and their needs. The Physician’s Oath spells out our responsibilities very clearly: patients first and always first.

However, physicians are human. 

Donald Girard, MD, Vice Chair of the Oregon Medical Board, summarizes the initiative of the Board to assist medical professionals.  To ensure complete confidentiality, he recommends that medical societies adopt and develop their own programs.