Drawing a direct line between disruptive behavior by physicians and adverse patient outcomes, two experts on physician behavior offered up two 10-step approaches to deal with bad doctors and, subsequently, improve patient care.
Session on disruptive docs draws crowd
The experts spoke to an overflow crowd of nearly 300 people attending a late Monday session at the Medical Group Management Association's annual conference in Las Vegas. The session room, with a capacity of 225, was ringed with people sitting on the floor around the room's edges and others standing outside the conference room doors, listening in. The clear interest in the topic prompted one attendee to quip, “Everyone must have some disruptive docs.”
The presenters, both physicians, were Dr. Alan Rosenstein, medical director of Physician Wellness Services in San Francisco, and Dr. Michelle Mudge-Riley, who owns her own consulting business, Physicians Helping Physicians, based in Glen Allen, Va.
Rosenstein walked the crowd through a variety of disruptive behaviors demonstrated by physicians, all of which interfere with important communication among all the caregivers involved in a patient's care. He cited numerous examples of adverse patient incidents caused by nurses and other caregivers who were afraid to provide important information to a physician lest he or she blow up at them.
“Physicians must be willing to communicate with other members of the healthcare team,” Rosenstein said. “Good collaboration and good communication lead to better outcomes.”
Among the tenets of his 10-point plan, Rosenstein recommended that hospitals and other institutions have in place intervention programs that offer prevention, pre-event early intervention, real-time intervention and trend-based intervention components.
“Doctors are not happy,” said Mudge-Riley, herself a self-described “burned out” doctor who left clinical practice years ago to go into consulting.
Among the factors causing unhappiness and disruptive behavior are all of the external challenges swirling around them such as healthcare reform, efficiency, productivity, recruitment and retention, revenue cycle and patient satisfaction, she said.
“Doctors hear all this stuff and don't understand it,” she said. “That leads to frustration.”
One way to address the issue is to hold regular meetings with physicians to explain and answer questions about business topics to increase their understanding of the issues and defuse that frustration, she said.
Send us a letter
Have an opinion about this story? Click here to submit a Letter to the Editor, and we may publish it in print.