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.

If you enjoyed the show, please give us 5 stars wherever you listen. Tweet us your thoughts @RoSpodcast and leave us a message on our facebook page at www.facebook.com/reviewofsystems. Or, you can email me at audrey@rospod.org. We’d love to hear from you, and thanks for listening.

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

Reprise – Journal Club: Sinsky et al, Allocation of Physician Time in Ambulatory Practice

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David Rosenthal, Thomas Kim, and Audrey Provenzano discuss the landmark study published in Annals of Internal Medicine by Sinsky and colleagues, Allocation of Physician Time in Ambulatory Practice: A Time and Motion Study in 4 Specialties.

Have you ever wondered how much time you spend each month fighting with technology or filling out VNA forms? Well, Christine Sinsky and her colleagues studied this and have some answers for us…all of which raise more fascinating questions about how we practice medicine.

Tweet us your thoughts @RoSpodcast, and send us feedback at audrey@rospod.org!

Integrating Primary Care & Behavioral Health at Lynn CHC: Kiame Mahaniah & Mark Alexakos

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Primary care models integrating behavioral health services are being adopted across the country. This week, we talked with two leaders at the Lynn Community Health Center (LCHC), Dr. Mark Alexakos and Dr. Kiame Mahaniah, about their experience with integration.

LCHC is unique among community health centers in that it started out as a mental health counseling center, and now has the largest community health center-based behavioral health program in Massachusetts. In this conversation, we talk about what it means to integrate behavioral health services with primary care clinical services – how it can reduce the fragmentation of services to better meet the needs of patients and the demand for mental health care (2:40), why it may better position clinics participating in accountable care (7:40), what successes they’ve seen (8:45), and the resources it has required (12:28). Along the way, our guests make it clear that the staff at LCHC love working in integrated teams. You can learn more about various other models of integrated behavioral health here.

Mark Alexakos MD, MPP, is the chief behavioral health officer of LCHC. He has a joint degree in medicine and public policy and developed an early interest in the interface between policy, research, and service delivery as they relate to access barriers, health disparities, and community health. Before working at LCHC, he spent seven years developing intensive, school-based mental health services that combined health promotion and prevention with quick access to behavioral health treatment in five Boston Public Schools.

Kiame Mahaniah, MD, is the chief executive officer of LCHC, though at the time of this interview, he served as the chief medical officer. His passion resolves around social and restorative justice, in the context of healthcare.   His twin clinical interests are teaching—he holds an appointment at the Tufts University School of Medicine—and integrating opioid addiction treatment into the primary care/behavioral health matrix.

This interview was edited lightly for length and clarity.

photo credit: Lynn Community Health Center

Lori Tishler of Commonwealth Care Alliance – Caring for the Most Vulnerable Patients

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Have you ever felt lonely and overwhelmed in a clinic room with a patient whose needs are far beyond your skills and ability to meet? I have, many times, and so has our guest this week, Dr. Lori Tishler. Dr. Tishler is the Vice President of Medical Affairs at Commonwealth Care Alliance, a not-for-profit organization that cares for more than 20,000 of the most vulnerable patients in Massachusetts, duals, or individuals who have both Medicare and Medicaid.

We talk about how CCA’s member-centered approach (as opposed to a physician-centered approach) has helped her feel more effective in caring for these vulnerable patients. We talk about the range of services that CCA offers, the role of their care partners, and the freedom that their financial model permits – for example, they provide 90% of care to patients in their homes.

You can find the Atlantic Magazine article we referenced featuring CCA here, and find a few Health Affairs blogs featuring CCA here, and a blog post focusing on building the business case for a community paramedicine program here.

A bit more about our guest: Lori Tishler is the Vice President of Medical Affairs at Commonwealth Care Alliance, a not-for-profit organization that cares for more than 20,000 of the most vulnerable patients in Massachusetts, people who have both Medicare and Medicaid.  She oversees CCA’s physicians and is involved with clinical aspects of quality, utilization, and pharmacy.  In addition, she is an Assistant Professor at Harvard Medical School and an active member of the General Medicine Faculty at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, As a caring and connected physician leader, mentor, and educator, Dr. Tishler’s passion has been providing care for the medically and socially vulnerable and making a difference in health systems for all.   Tishler has found that the most rewarding way to help change and grow our health care systems is to mentor learners who are interested in clinical care, leadership, and innovation.

Her leadership roles have extended outside of the clinic and outside of primary care.  She served on the Partners Healthcare Board of Directors, the Board of Directors for the Office for Women’s Careers, and the Board of the Schwartz Rounds while at the Brigham.  At Commonwealth Care Alliance, she teaches and presents nationally about our care model and innovations.

In addition to her leadership work, she continues to provide clinical care  Tishler feels that working as a clinician informs her choices and decisions as a leader.  Outside of work, Dr. Tishler loves to spend time with her husband and teenaged daughter, to travel, read, and knit.  She is honored to have been interviewed on Review of Systems.

If you enjoyed the show, please give us 5 stars wherever you listen. Tweet us your thoughts @rospodcast and check out our facebook page at www.facebook.com/reviewofsystems. Or, you can email us at audreyATrospod.org. We’d love to hear from you, and thanks for listening.

Tom Bodenheimer – Building Blocks of High-Performing Primary Care and the Quadruple Aim

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Dr. Tom Bodenheimer is one of the world’s foremost experts in primary care re-design, having recently written about high-performing primary care clinics and the Quadruple Aim, which are articles consistently in the most-read list for the Annals of Family Medicine and among his most cited work.  We focused much of our conversation on his work visiting 23 high-performing primary care practices, what he and co-authors learned, how resident teaching sites can also be high-performing, and why we should be seeking a fourth aim in addition to IHI’s famed Triple Aim.

A general internist who received his medical degree at Harvard and completed his residency at the University of California-San Francisco, Dr. Tom Bodenheimer spent 32 years in primary care practice in San Francisco’s Mission District, a primarily low-income, Latino community—ten years in community health centers and 22 years in private practice.  He is currently Professor of Family and Community Medicine at UCSF and Founder and Co-Director of the Center for Excellence in Primary Care.  He has written extensively in journals such as the New England Journal of Medicine, JAMA, Annals of Family Medicine, and Health Affairs, on health policy and health care delivery for chronic disease management, including patient self-management, health coaching, and team-based care. He is also co-author of the books Improving Primary Care: Strategies and Tools for a Better Practice, and the health policy text book Understanding Health Policy.

Listen at the end of the episode for a promo code to receive 15% off registration fees for an upcoming conference from the Harvard Center for Primary Care: Primary Care in 2020 – Future Challenges, Tips for Today.

This interview has been lightly edited for length and clarity.

Danielle Ofri – Communication Between Patients & Doctors

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This week, we are joined by Danielle Ofri. Danielle is a primary care physician at Bellevue Hospital and a prolific essayist and author. We start out talking about her most recent book, What Patients Say, What Doctors Hear. We talk about communication between patients and doctors and why it can be so challenging, and how physician communication can be evaluated and more effectively taught to trainees. Danielle talks about the power dynamics of the medical interview and how it can be uncomfortable for us as physicians to have the tables turned when the patient is more empowered in the conversation. We also talk about the campaign that Danielle has spearheaded to get physicians and other medical professionals involved in the health care reform efforts of the last few months in Washington DC with her House Calls Campaign.

Danielle is a physician at Bellevue Hospital and associate professor of medicine at NYU. She writes about medicine and the doctor-patient connection for the New York TimesSlate Magazine, and other publications. Danielle is co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of the Bellevue Literary Review, the first literary journal to arise from a medical setting. She is the author of a collection of books about the world of medicine. She’s given TED Talks on Deconstructing Perfection and  When Doctors Face Fear, and has performed at The Moth.

If you enjoy the show, please rate and review us wherever you listen, and share us on social media. Tweet us your thoughts @rospodcast and check out our facebook page at www.facebook.com/reviewofsystems. Or, you can email us at contact@rospod.org. We’d love to hear from you, and thanks for listening.

This interview has been lightly edited for clarity.

How to Prevent Burnout with Diane Shannon & Paul DeChant

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This week, in the second of our series about physician burnout, our guests focus on solutions. Diane Shannon and Paul DeChant, both physicians, join us to talk about their recent book Preventing Physician Burnout, Curing the Chaos and Returning Joy to the Practice of Medicine.

Diane and Paul talk about their experiences with burnout and how they came to work on this project together, how they contend that organizational and structural factors are more important than individual factors in driving burnout, how compensation and intangible rewards can reduce burnout, how leadership in healthcare can address the epidemic of burnout. We also talk about how they have come to believe that the LEAN principles, most especially the pillar of respect for people, is key in transforming healthcare organizations into places where primary care physicians can thrive, why change is so difficult, and some other resources that can help.

Diane Shannon is a general internist who left clinical medicine due to burnout and turned to a career in medical writing and public health. Paul DeChant is a family physician and experienced healthcare executive who has previously worked in organizations such as The Paulo Alto Medical Foundation, Sutter Gould Medical Foundation, and is now a senior advisor with Simpler Healthcare.

If you’ve missed it, have a listen to the first in our burnout series with Colin West, researcher at Mayo Clinic who has done foundational research on burnout and physician well-being. Please rate and review us on itunes, google play, or stitcher, which makes the show easier for others to find; and share us on social media. We tweet at @rospodcast and are on facebook at www.facebook.com/reviewofsystems.  Please drop us a line at contact@rospod.org. We’d love to hear from you, and thanks for listening.

Colin West – The Evidence Behind Burnout

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This week, we are joined by Colin West, professor of Medicine, Biostatistics and Medical Education at Mayo Clinic. Colin’s research focuses primarily on physician well-being, evidence based medicine and medical education. We talk today about his extensive research in the area of physician well-being and burnout.

We talk about what researchers mean precisely by burnout and how it is measured, what the implications are for patient care and quality of care that the primary care workforce is increasingly burdened with burnout, and his findings in an important 2016 study that physicians with significant burnout scores cut back on patient care over time. We also talk about the EMR, and what specific features of EMR most correlate with user dissatisfaction. Lastly, we talk about what questions he most wants to answer in his field. This is part 1 of a 2-part series on burnout. Today we focus on the evidence behind burnout, and in part 2 we will talk about what can be done to alleviate the problem.

If you like the show, please rate and review us on itunes, google play, or stitcher, which makes the show easier for others to find; and share us on social media. We tweet at @rospodcast and are on facebook at www.facebook.com/reviewofsystems.  Please drop us a line at contact@rospod.org. We’d love to hear from you, and thanks for listening.

David Himmelstein – Blending Research & Advocacy

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Our guest this week is David Himmelstein. He is a distinguished professor of public health and health policy in the CUNY School of Public Health at Hunter College, adjunct clinical professor at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and lecturer in medicine at Harvard Medical School. He has served as chief of the division of social and community medicine at Cambridge Hospital.

David has authored or co-authored more than 100 journal articles and three books, including widely cited studies of medical bankruptcy and the high administrative costs of the U.S. health care system. His 1984 study of patient dumping led to the enactment of EMTALA, the law that banned that practice. He is also a co-founder of Physicians for a National Health Program and is a principal author of PNHP articles published in the JAMA and the New England Journal of Medicine in conjunction with Dr. Steffie Woolhandler.

We talk about how he got his start in research by looking at patient dumping practices as a trainee, and how he views advocacy as a natural outgrowth of his research findings. We also talk about his work as a leader in advocacy for a national health insurance program and talk about a few common arguments against such policy changes. Lastly, he gives some advice for folks early in their career who would like to follow his model of research blended with advocacy.

If you like the show, please rate and review us on itunes, google play, or stitcher, which makes the show easier for others to find; and share us on social media. We tweet at @rospodcast and are on facebook at www.facebook.com/reviewofsystems.  Please drop us a line at contact@rospod.org. We’d love to hear from you, and thanks for listening.

Bon Ku – Design Thinking in Healthcare

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This week we are joined by Bon Ku, the Assistant Dean for Health and Design and an Associate Professor at the Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University, to talk about design thinking and medicine. Bon is a practicing emergency medicine physician and the founder and director of JeffDESIGN, a first-of-its-kind program in a medical school that teaches future physicians to apply human-centered design to healthcare challenges. Bon has spoken widely on the intersection of health and design thinking (TEDx, South by Southwest, Mayo Clinic Transform, Stanford Medicine X, Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture) and serves on the Design and Health Leadership Group at the American Institute of Architects. Bon talks with us about what design thinking is, how he got into it, why he thinks physicians would benefit from learning to think in this way, and how to apply it to common primary care challenges, like walk-ins. He also directs listeners to the following resources to learn more about design thinking in medicine: the Stanford Dschool, and ideou.

If you like the show, please rate and review us on itunes or stitcher, which makes the show easier for others to find; and share us on social media. We tweet at @rospodcast and are on facebook at www.facebook.com/reviewofsystems.  Please drop us a line at contact@rospod.org. We’d love to hear from you.