Understanding how to return joy to practice with Christine Sinsky

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In order to make primary care better, we have to understand what is working and what isn’t – and not just in broad strokes, but in granular detail. Dr. Christine Sinsky is on the cutting edge of this type of research, and publishes prolifically on what is driving burnout in primary care, what specific steps we can take to fix it, and how to return joy to practice. Dr. Sinsky is the VP of Professional Satisfaction at the AMA and has practiced as a general internist for 30 years in Dubuque, Iowa. We talk about her landmark work with Tom Bodenheimer, which introduced the idea of the quadruple aim in 2013, how new EHR metrics can improve how we deliver care and improve the experience of caregivers and patients, and the extent of the burnout crisis in medicine at large, not just primary care. You can find the call for research that Dr. Sinksy referenced and collaborated on with Dr. Lotte Dyrbye and other leaders in this field here. We previously featured one of Dr. Sinksy’s publications, which showed that physicians spend about 2 hours doing clerical work for every 1 hour they see patients in a journal club, which you can find here.

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This interview has been lightly edited for length and clarity. Photo courtesy of Christine Sinsky.