Physicians need better PR
AUGUST 3, 2019
On July 8, 2019, the American Academy of Emergency Medicine wrote a letter to the American Medical Association, asking the organization to create a public campaign to support physician-led care.
Noting concerns over the recent media crusade to promote nurse practitioner care to patients, including the American Association of Nurse Practitioners “We Choose NPs” campaign, the letter asks the American Medical Association to combat the messaging being sent by nurse practitioners, which “suggests that [nurse practitioner] care is equivalent or better than that of a physician.”
Stop the anti-doctor media bias
MAY 2, 2019
The April 18, 2019 CNN headline was a prime example of clickbait: “Feds charge doctors in 8 states in opioid bust, including ‘Rock Doc’ accused of trading pills for sex.”
The only problem with this headline? Of the 60 individuals charged, half were not physicians. More importantly, Jeffrey Young, the so-called “Rock Doc” who prescribed nearly 1.5 million pills of opioids and benzos often in exchange for sex, is not even a doctor at all. Young is a nurse practitioner who had his nursing license restricted for similar accusations in November 2018.
Direct primary care physicians are not concierge doctors
FEBRUARY 1, 2019
I recently received a scathing email criticizing an article I wrote about the care of patients in underserved areas. “Should you really even get to write articles about poor, underserved populations when you run a concierge practice?” the author wrote. “This is called hypocrisy. You are what is wrong with the medical field.”
What the author of this email didn’t know was that I spent six years working for the underserved as an employee of a federally qualified health center in a poor, rural area. But more importantly, she missed a very important distinction about my current practice. You see, I am not a concierge doctor. I am a direct primary care (DPC) doctor.
Stop treating doctors like school children
AUGUST 8, 2018
As more doctor pay is being tied to patient satisfaction and “outcomes,” a recent Forbes article argues that “It’s only a matter of time before physicians will see the bulk of their compensation tied to quality measures.” To prepare for this pay-for-performance apocalypse, the article cites Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) CEO Haylee Fischer-Wright, MD, who urges physicians to “build data analyses” and take steps to “keep their patients satisfied.”
These sound bites might go over well in a boardroom (assuming there are no physicians present). But let’s consider two little problems. First: Neither pay-for-performance (P4P) nor patient satisfaction has been shown to improve patient outcomes. Secondly, and perhaps more importantly to shareholders, neither have been shown to save money.
Independent practice: Both nurse practitioners and physicians should be outraged
JANUARY 5, 2018
The United States is facing a looming physician shortage, and some groups see this as an opportunity to promote an agenda of replacing physicians with nurses.
To prevent burnout, physicians need less resilience, not more
REBEKAH BERNARD, MD | PHYSICIAN | SEPTEMBER 13, 2016
With the latest data calculating physician burnout at greater than 50 percent, American medicine is at a tipping point. How to fix this crisis? Why, make physicians more resilient, of course!
Except physician resiliency is exactly what got us into this problem.
America’s civil war on doctors
23 COMMENTS REBEKAH BERNARD, MD | JUNE 21, 2016
I recently saw the movie, Captain America: Civil War. If you haven’t seen it yet (no spoilers), the United Nations decides that because of civilian fatalities during previous Avenger battles, the world would be safer if all superheroes voluntarily subjugate themselves to the authority of an organized government body. Sounds good to some of the Avengers; after all, innocent people have died, and maybe some form of supervision will minimize collateral ...
It’s time for physicians to stop being pushovers
71 COMMENTS REBEKAH BERNARD, MD | JUNE 1, 2016
Like many physicians, I’m a people pleaser. On my medical school application, my personal statement was a literary cliché filled with my dreams of helping others, easing pain, soothing suffering -- and I really meant it. What I didn’t know then was how difficult it would be to negotiate making patients happy while doing the right thing medically. Medical school and residency didn’t adequately prepare me for the emotional strain of ...
How partnering with urgent care created a dream primary care job
67 COMMENTS REBEKAH BERNARD, MD | JANUARY 3, 2016
I have a dream job. I make my own hours, working three 12-hour shifts on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. I’m off Friday through Monday, and I don’t take any call. I take as much vacation as my budget will allow, and if I wake up with the flu, I call off from work without the usual feeling of guilt and anxiety. It wasn’t always this way. Like all new doctors recently out ...
A physician’s open letter to Medicare patients
27 COMMENTS REBEKAH BERNARD, MD | NOVEMBER 1, 2015
Dear patients, This is a hard letter to write, but it is important that you know about a major change that is coming for both of us in 2017, just a short year away. As you recall, last year I left a large hospital group practice and opened my own office, and I want to thank you for your faithfulness in following me to my new location. With the newfound freedom of ...
Can you fake empathy until it becomes real?
18 COMMENTS REBEKAH BERNARD, MD | SEPTEMBER 13, 2015
Studies show over and over again that empathy is the key to physician-patient communication and is directly related to patient satisfaction, adherence to medical treatment, lawsuits, and clinical outcomes. Yet despite its importance, many doctors still struggle with showing empathy. The reality is that while most medical students start school with high levels of empathy, it doesn’t take long before that empathy is beaten out of us. Studies show ...
Medical Economics Blog
Helping patients with brand name drug costs
June 13, 2019
In my last article, I discussed how doctors can help patients obtain low-cost generic medications by operating an in-house dispensary. One barrier...
Benefits of in-house medication dispensing
May 8, 2019
In-house medication dispensing can save patients money and improve medication adherence
Physicians and patients working together can make a difference
March 20, 2019
A small group of independent physicians challenged a powerful hospital organization, and against all odds, won the day.
Can acting classes help physicians learn to show empathy?
February 25, 2019
Showing empathy improves patient satisfaction, but not every doctor is naturally good at expressing feelings to patients.
Use psychology to defuse emotionally charged situations
December 18, 2018
Here's what you should do the next time you experience a patient in a strong emotional state.
Use psychology to improve patient satisfaction
October 25, 2018
Doctors can use the psychological techniques of deep listening and emotional validation to help patients feel heard and understood.
Use psychology to manage negative patient reviews
September 25, 2018
The occasional negative patient complaint online can actually turn out to be a good thing for your reputation.
Who do patients really need: physicians or administrators?
August 22, 2018
A trend of shuttering hospital departments and firing physicians to save money is dangerous and short-sighted.
Doctors and patients can benefit from motivational psychology
July 5, 2018
Lectures don’t work to motivate patients because the use of guilt and threats are horrible motivators. The same goes for doctors.
Physician replacements affecting vulnerable patient populations
May 9, 2018
Physicians are willing and able to care for the underserved, the needy, and the vulnerable, but are being replaced by lesser trained providers to save money.
5 ways to improve physician mental health
November 18, 2017
The practice of medicine in our current healthcare system is making physicians sick, with levels of burnout and mental strain increasing across every specialty.
How physicians can respond to workplace sexism
October 07, 2017
Studies show that most women physicians—52% in one study and 75% in another—have been sexually harassed at some point in their career by patients.
Top 7 reasons women doctors need prenups
July 08, 2017
Lady doctors, if you’ve taken Beyonce’s advice to heart and “put a ring on it,” then I have another message for you: Get a prenup.
Marriage, children cause more burnout for female physicians
April 15, 2017
By now, we know that women physicians have higher rates of burnout than their male counterparts, with increased levels of depression and suicide.
Why do women physicians experience burnout more than men?
February 18, 2017
The statistics are clear: Physicians are burned out, miserable and trying to get out of the clinical practice of medicine, and women physicians are leading the pack at twice the level of burnout as their male colleagues.
The problem of martyrdom in medicine
February 04, 2017
Doctors, like everyone else, are human. It’s time that we not only acknowledge that to ourselves, but to the world.