The PMD Critical List: Burned Out By Busywork

A new study blames the increasingly electronic nature of medicine for exacerbating the physician burnout problem. That story tops this week's PMD Critical List. Also making the list: the perils of treating family members, and New Mexico's top court surprises many with its physician-assisted suicide ruling.

A new study blames the increasingly electronic nature of medicine for exacerbating the physician burnout problem. That story tops this week's PMD Critical List. Also making the list: the perils of treating family members, and New Mexico's top court surprises many with its physician-assisted suicide ruling.

Doctors Are Burned Out by Busywork (Time)

“There’s no one cause for doctor burnout, but a new Mayo Clinic Proceedings study has found a major one: the increasingly electronic nature of medicine. The digital parts of doctoring, like maintaining electronic health records, were linked to professional unhappiness in physicians.”

When Doctors Treat Friends and Family (Newsworks)

An in-depth report about the ethics of doctors treating their loved ones. “This type of informal healthcare happens all the time, and while it may be off the record, it doesn't mean the physician is off the hook.” And the AMA’s guidelines on the matter are 170 years old.

New Mexico Says Doctors Can't Help Patients Die (US News & World Report)

The New Mexico Supreme Court has unanimously ruled “that terminally ill patients cannot end their lives with help from doctors, ending what right-to-die advocates thought would be a successful legal fight.” Doctors can legally help terminally ill patients ends their lives in five states: California, Oregon, Washington, Montana, and Vermont.

When Doctors Have Conflicts of Interest (The New York Times)

A thoughtful essay by a leading Cleveland Clinic physician: “It’s complicated. Certainly, the relationships doctors have with drug or device manufacturers drive innovation, and help make those products better for patients. But can we ever be sure these relationships aren’t influencing the purity of our practice of medicine, even a little?”

Doctors and Hospitals Get Billions From Drug and Device Makers (Boston Globe)

Drug and device makers paid doctors and teaching hospitals nearly $6.5 billion last year, according to new CMS Open Payments database figures. And physicians or their family members held $1 billion in ownership or investment interest in those companies. Novartis topped the list with over $539 million in honoraria.

Why I Prefer Younger Doctors (The Wall Street Journal)

A 43-year-old California medical school professor offers his personal opinions on physician selection. “Although studies show that younger doctors are more up to date about medical science, what matters more is that they are more fluent with the sciences of communication, teamwork and improvement.”

Patients Ignoring Doctors’ Wearables Prescriptions (Readwrite.com)

Doctors are increasingly prescribing health-related wearables but a new survey finds that “only 4% of patients said their doctor had recommended self-tracking with wearables in the previous year. However, 40% of the doctors said they had recommended using the devices in the same time period.”

Few Young Doctors Training to Care for Elderly (NPR.org)

“The current physician workforce is inadequately trained and inadequately prepared to deal with what's been called the silver tsunami—a tidal wave of elderly people—increasing in the population across America, and across the world really.”

All Doctors Recommend Natural Remedies for Children (Business Wire)

“A new international study of pediatricians has found that 99% say they have prescribed or recommended a complementary and alternative medicine for a child in the past year.” And just over half of the doctors agreed homeopathy can enhance recovery and symptom relief.

Doctors' Declaration of Independence (Forbes)

“If you study the tricks the healthcare industry uses that has led to healthcare’s hyperinflation, doctors have little to do with them. Yet, as the most prominent member of industry, they tend to get disproportionally blamed for out-of-control healthcare costs.” Here’s an encouraging report about some docs trying to start a “healthcare revolution.”