By: Eric Wicklund
The developers of an online social and medical learning network for physicians is launching a workgroup targeted at combatting stress and burnout.
QuantiaMD, based in Waltham, Mass., has unveiled the Physician Wellbeing Special Interest Group, a mobile and online resource offering educational content, advice, tools and services designed to help physicians reduce their stress levels and adopt healthier physical, mental, financial and social lifestyles.
“Whether it is due to pride, misconceptions about what we think is professional physician behavior or just bad habits, we are all susceptible to burnout, a condition that can be comparable to PTSD and (which is) not to be taken lightly,” said Steven D. Passik, PhD, Professor of Psychiatry and Anesthesiology at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, in a press release supplied by QuantiaMD. “Beyond the danger this poses to us, we must also remember that our patients see us as role models and our behaviors do affect them. We need to make changes for ourselves as well as a public change in the community that is our practice.”
Officials at QuantiaMD, which includes more than 150,000 physicians in its network (about 8,000 have so far joined the well-being group), said about half of those surveyed want to prioritize their well-being, but aren’t doing so. As a result, company officials said, industry studies have seen an increase in physician burnout, a reduction in patient satisfaction, less productive interactions between physicians and their patients and an inability by physicians to stay up to date on the latest in medical care – all of which can negatively impact patient outcomes.
“Any … vocation – be it firefighter, teacher, clergy or physician – is practiced by people who put the interests of others before themselves,” said Michael Paskavitz, editor in chief of QuantiaMD. “However, over time, there is a price to pay for not looking after yourself, and many of our members have expressed the need for support in their personal lives as medical professionals. We hope this interest group enables members to honor their vocation while also ensuring their own personal well-being.”
The free resource includes interactive presentations explaining how burnout occurs, was well as exercise and healthy lifestyle tips and personal case studies from other physicians, lawyers, accountants and other specialists. It can be accessed through any smartphone, tablet or computer.