Guest Post: Incompetent Management Breeds Demoralized Physicians

Howard Brody | Health Care Renewal | July 30, 2013

Health Care Renewal presents a guest post by Dr Howard Brody, John P McGovern Centennial Chair of Family Medicine, Director of the Institute for Medical Humanities at University of Texas - Medical Branch at Galveston, and blogger at Hooked: Ethics, Medicine and Pharma.

Danielle Ofri, a prominent internist/author at Bellevue in New York, started a recent op-ed piece, “Last week I was ready to quit medicine."

She described an encounter most physicians can relate to—a 15-minute appointment slot, a new patient who spoke only Bengali, a long and complicated problem list, a bag containing 18 different medicines, two forms that had to be filled out by the doctor on this day’s visit, and a computer that froze while she was trying to keep up with the electronic charting. She described how, 45 minutes into the supposedly 15-minute visit, she had a phone in one ear with the Bengali translator and tech support on hold in the other ear.

Ofri’s plaint caught my attention because I had recently put up a guest post on Health Care Renewal about another highly skilled, caring physician who was seriously considering quitting practice. This led me to write a column for some of our local newspapers about demoralized doctors