A new form of training is aimed at countering physician burnout – a mental health issue which has emerged as a significant problem in the U.S. for both the medical professionals who suffer from it and the patients whose care may be affected by it. Physician burnout can lead to errors in care that can raise the cost of both health care – potentially putting it beyond some patients’ means – and malpractice insurance.

The numbers

How widespread is the problem? According to Medscape's  National Physician Burnout & Depression Report 2018, 42% of the physician respondents reported burnout and 15% admitted experiencing clinical or colloquial forms of depression.

Physicians aren’t the only ones who feel the effects of burnout; their employers do as well. JAMA  estimates that a hospital with 450 doctors on staff loses approximately $5,625,000 per year due to turnover caused by burnout.

Communication skills

"Burnout Training"-  known as PPMD - has made its way into continuing medical education (CE/CME) hours. Using a holistic approach, the training teaches doctors how to identify, measure, and influence psychology, emotional literacy, and nonverbal communication skills.

"In order to deliver quality care to patients, it is paramount for doctors to be mentally healthy and to understand how to communicate, how to read nonverbal cues, and how to manage emotions," says Dr. Rich Castellano, a Tampa plastic surgeon who has been instrumental in the nationwide movement to provide CE/CME Wellness and Burnout training for physicians, surgeons, and healthcare providers. In addition to his medical practice, Castellano mentors fellow physicians through his PracticeProfitabilityMD.com program.

In the training sessions, doctors learn to:

  • identify and measure their emotions/empathy/kindness/happiness
  • modify the emotions/empathy/kindness/happiness in themselves and others; and
  • diagnose and treat troublesome behavior patterns in patients and healthcare teams before they spiral out of control.

By knowing how to read cues in patient behavior, clinicians are able to better diagnose and treat patients. In addition, patients are more proactive and trusting when they feel connected on an emotional level to a doctor. This can greatly impact a treatment plan and improve the quality of care.

"Health comes from healthy behaviors, healthy communication, and healthy emotions,” says Castellano. “Doctors who understand this will be the leaders of tomorrow and we will be able to transform the healthcare system so it is efficient and effective."

For more information about PPMD visit https://practiceprofitabilitymd.com/