A Burnt-Out Doctor Decides To Quit

A Burnt-Out Doctor Decides To Quit

Diane W. Shannon, M.D., MPH, is now solely a freelance writer. That’s because primary care burned her out of practicing medicine entirely. She’s not burnt out on the industry, though, instead focusing on what she calls “performance improvement in health care.”

Dr. Shannon is exactly the doctor we refer to when critics mention that direct care might exacerbate a doctor shortage. To reiterate, every doctor in America doesn’t get to cut the red tape and instantaneously practice insurance-free medicine. No, direct care is about doctors cooperating collectively and acting independently to circumvent the administrative forces that swallow doc’s time, stress them out, and prohibit them from forming strong relationships with patients.


In her blog post, Dr. Shannon cites research pointing out 4 key factors to doctor burnout:

  • Time pressure
  • Degree of control regarding work
  • Work pace
  • Level of chaos

She also believes there needs to be an alignment between the physician and administration. Of course, there has to be. Otherwise you end up like this doctor, forced to book appointments every fifteen minutes–which makes it impossible to practice high-quality medicine, where you can get to know the patient and determine what’s really going on.

In our case, the power of direct care is becoming physician and administration. With that dual power comes dual responsibility. We’ve been at this for years, being the boss of our time and spending our time with patients. So how do we pull this off? Well, we’re disciplined, passionate, and perhaps a little lucky. But we also use a tailor-made EMR/Practice Management software. Needless to say, things have been going well for us here. And we’re serious when we say, we couldn’t have done it WITHOUT the help of technology. However, the advantage we have is that we’re building software that works for our niche of primary care, not a one-size-fits-all solution that’s so ambitious and addled with features that it becomes impossible to use efficiently.

Seriously, are there any docs out there raving about how an EMR SAVED THEM TIME? If so, we’re all ears. Otherwise EMR frustration might make the next list for key factors of doctor stress.