Thursday, July 27, 2017

#RealLife - a doctor's story

Hello, lovely readers!

I haven't blogged in a while. Because, well...real life. Kids: three. Husband: one. Day job: ah, the day job. That's where things got tricky.

I started my medical career in private practice. Over the past decade or so, changes in the medical marketplace have forced more and more physicians to joined larger organizations in order to stay afloat. Our group joined a large academic center, and for a while things were good.

But bureaucracy is like a huge boa constrictor. It squeezes tighter and tighter. First you can't move. Then you can't breathe. Then you're done. Buh-bye.

We became cogs in a big system, forced to check "meaningful use" boxes that had nothing to do with patient care. When we went the extra mile to help our patients, we'd get reprimanded for not following the rules. It was all about the system. The liability. The bottom line.

This year, we decided: enough. 

We left Big Medicine and went back to private practice. A smaller, leaner group for sure. Age, illness, and the desire for a steady paycheck whittled down our numbers. Some doctors retired. Others decided to remain in the university hospital setting. The rest of us embarked on an exciting new venture, hoping to rediscover the joys of practicing medicine.

Are we there yet? No. 

I'm working harder than ever, trying to organize everything while still seeing patients. There are new offices to set up, new staff to train, new workflows to design, new computer systems, new equipment, new...well, you get the picture. It's a process, with a steep learning curve.

But those patients who followed us on this grand adventure already appreciate the difference. More personalized care. Smiling, friendly staff. Doctors who can and do go that extra mile.

Which brings me back to where I started: real life has a way of messing with the best intentions. My New Year's resolution to write more (or at least more regularly) gave way to other priorities. I'm getting back on track now, and hope to finish my next book soon.

Thanks for sticking with me, and stay tuned for The Burnout Cure. Art imitating life, but with a happy ending. Guaranteed.