What are the Top 3 Biggest Frustrations of Being a Doctor?

When asked what the Biggest Frustrations of Being a Doctor are, the answers given by healthcare providers are surprising.

Most people might expect doctors to say the incredibly long hours, delivering difficult news, or watching patients suffer with pain. These all seem to be difficult parts of becoming a doctor, and are well known, however these are not the biggest frustrations of being a doctor.

Many parts of being a doctor that are incredibly frustrating are not immediately obvious to those outside the healthcare world.

Here are a list of the Top 3 Biggest Frustrations of Being a Doctor, according to those who practice in the field.

Too Much Third Party Interference

According to an article published on Physician’s Practice: When asked: “If you had to pick one reason above all others for not becoming a physician, what would it be?” The most popular response among all three groups (partners/co-owners, physicians employed by hospitals or other institutions, and physicians employed in practices) was too much third-party interference.

What this means is that insurance payers, billing companies, government departments and a sundry of others are involved in the day to day operations of most medical practices.

A recent article by US News explains “A primary care physician may see 20 to 25 patients a day for five days a week, or more. Many patients need prescriptions or procedures that require scheduling and a health plan’s approval – time-consuming, mind-numbing tasks. And while some of these duties can be delegated to others, many administrative chores require a doctor’s approval.”

Third party interference causes friction. It slows down the practice of medicine for doctors. It means patients have more preliminary work to do before they can see the doctor.

If there was a way to reduce third party interference, and have more detailed patient history easily accessible, this would help to reduce physician’s frustrations dramatically.

Managing Chronic Care Patients Effectively

About half of all adults in the US (approximately 117 million people) have one or more chronic health conditions. These chronic conditions are responsible for 70% of deaths each year.

Nearly 25 percent of all US Primary Care Doctors say they are not well prepared to care for patients with multiple chronic illnesses, according to a new 10-nation survey by the Commonwealth Fund, a foundation that promotes a high-performing healthcare system.

As Emergency Nurse Lou Davis explains “Failure to move patients out of the department within this time results in sanctions (of varying degrees) – this measure is often not about ‘quality’ of care, it’s more about the target. That is an enormously frustrating thing for the Dr who wants to be able to ‘care’ properly.”

Treating patients with chronic diseases accounts for 86 percent of our nation’s healthcare costs, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). As the American population continues to age, there is a need for new methods of patient tracking and interaction. These can help reduce inefficiencies and the costs they create.

Lack of Patient Engagement

Improving communication with patients and other providers is a way to reduce one of the biggest frustrations of being a doctor.

Only 30% of primary care doctors said they were notified when a patient is seen in an emergency department or discharged from the hospital.

Dr Stephen Schmiff writing for Kevin MD, explains that patients feel a similar frustration “They find they have to wait a long time for an appointment, sit in the apt named waiting room and then get just a few minutes with the PCP. They observe that the doctor interrupts them within just a few moments, never lets them tell their full story, isn’t really listening and shuttles them off to a specialist or gives them a prescription while never really explaining in their terms what is going on.”

On both sides, a lack of connection and engagement is to blame. Working on new strategies to streamline communication and patient interaction is a key solution to this frustration.