70% of physicians change jobs within the first 2 years of completing residency. Why? What’s going on? The world of medicine has changed a lot in the past few years, and it’s become more overwhelming than ever. As you’re entering the field, the job search is paramount. It may even determine whether or not you decide to remain a physician in the clinical realm.
It’s true: doctors are leaving the medical field in high numbers and retiring earlier than planned.
It’s not uncommon to come across a case where a burned-out physician decides they’d be better off in another field. Why does this happen, and how can you, as a doctor, get the job that’s right for you?
You can craft the career you want. Don’t accept the status quo and fall into a job where you’re unhappy from the get-go. Here are some of the reasons doctors burnout and tips on how to avoid it.
Piles of Paperwork
Paperwork. Shouldn’t be a big deal, right? But it contributes to why some doctors tend to burn out so quickly. Not only is the amount of paperwork required to even apply for jobs and verify credentials gargantuan, there’s also a ton of regulations and paperwork required in the healthcare industry as a whole.
From things like the meaningful use requirements generated by the federal government, to the details of patient charting and consultation, all of this can weigh heavily on medical professionals.
The solution here is to find a practice that gives you the tools to understand and work with these requirements. When group practices have the right resources, they can adapt quickly to these paperwork changes. When they don’t, they put a lot of pressure on doctors to find time to fill out paperwork rather than interacting with patients.
Almost all of today’s modern medical offices run on schedules massively frustrating for both doctors and patients. Doctors have 15 minutes to see a patient because they’re packed like sardines into a doctor’s schedule.
Many doctors enter the field of medicine because of a desire to help people and interact deeply with patients. However as doctors are asked to spend less time with patients, they can lose their passion.
As doctors know, spending time to thoroughly talk with the patient on their history of present illness can provide 80-85% of the diagnosis. But when doctors only have 15 minutes with a patient they aren’t able to gather as much HPI information and build that doctor-patient relationship.
As a result of breakneck scheduling that decreases interaction with patients, many Emergency Medicine physicians are moving to freestanding emergency departments for a less chaotic practice environment. These facilities are usually nicer than hospitals and with fewer patients, physicians can re-engage and have longer interactions with patients for higher quality care . More importantly, doctors can remember why they got into medicine in the first place.
Now the solution isn’t to only look for jobs at freestanding emergency departments and not at hospitals or practices. Rather you can find a job where you don’t feel rushed with patients and can work in relative peace.
The whole industry really requires comprehensive reform and radical change — and doctors know it. They feel it, because they work with it every day. Take charge of your work life and craft a schedule more conducive to a long, sustainable career.
The Billing Nightmare
Another point of frustration for doctors is the lack of transparency and control with billing.
Medical practices call it revenue cycle management, or the money triangle, and it’s unlike any other kind of business where the doctor’s office doesn’t get paid when they see a patient.
Instead, they send that patient home, and send bills to a third party. Insurance companies sometimes return cryptic and frustrating responses. Then someone at the doctor’s office has to paw through all of these documents and update them correctly.
The back-and-forth process of the 3rd party payment system is massive. When insurance companies don’t pay the entire bill, the doctor’s office has to bill the patient. Many of these bills are for small amounts of money, so they don’t seem like a big deal. However patients often ignore them and doctors must send $10-15 co-pay amounts to collections to try to get them paid.
This billing triangle is a nightmare and something practices should try to avoid if possible.
What’s the solution? Search for a practice willing to innovate with billing. Practices can collect co-pays up front and come up with different ways of making billing clearer to patients and save everybody huge headaches and hours and hours of unnecessary work.
Pressure to be Perfect
Another thing physicians can’t control: making mistakes. Physicians are expected to bat a thousand all the time. That’s just not possible, they’re human after all. Doctors face too high of expectations to never make mistakes and ensure everything goes perfectly. But complications do happen and lawsuits are sure to follow.
Most doctors never talk about their mistakes. However misery loves company and even the most seasoned physicians still make mistakes. You’re not alone in that things sometimes don’t go as planned. ‘There is no effort without error and shortcoming.’
Solution: try to create a culture in your workplace of discussing things that don’t go well in order to alleviate the pressure of perfection and work together to eliminate mistakes as much as possible.
Landing a Sound Doctor Job is Possible
Don’t let the medical network be your boss. Find a boss that allows you to care for patients in better ways. Health networks investing in the right tools and procedures give doctors the gift of a calmer, smoothly running office. This in turn gives doctors the job satisfaction that makes them a lot less likely to run off for greener pastures.
It’s alright in the first few years of your career to look around and work at multiple places. Be sure to date jobs before you sign on full-time. Don’t feel beholden to the system that’s slow to change and adapt. Craft a sustainable career that maintains flexibility in your work life balance to avoid burnout.
Dr. Larson is the Founder & CEO of MedSpoke. A ‘Credentialing as a Service’ Company. MedSpoke streamlines credentialing for Hospital / Facilities, Payers / Enrollment and State Licensing through their powerful software platform and Concierge Credentialing experience. To learn more about MedSpoke click here.