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Physician Burnout and the Enlightened CFO

3 Mins read



physician burnoutPhysician Burnout and the Power of an Enlightened CFO

What your CFO doesn’t know about physician burnout is hurting you right now. They are pounding the boardroom table for projects that only increase the stress for the front line care providers. We must teach them the financial impact of burnout because an enlightened CFO can be your biggest ally in battle against stress and burnout.

“Fun” Burnout Fact:

On average, 1 in 3 doctors are suffering from physician burnout on any given office day, worldwide, regardless of specialty. Unless your organization performs a physician stress and burnout survey at least twice a year, you can assume the burnout rate on your staff is greater than this average.

Your CFO needs to know this ASAP, and that is not all.

We have to show them the massive negative effect burnout has on your bottom line profitability. If they knew what you are about to read, they would be pounding the boardroom table for a physician burnout prevention committee with a sizable budget.

As I show you this list of research proven effects of physician burnout, imagine for a moment you are a CFO. What impact would you expect the following to have on your organization’s bottom line?

Physician burnout causes …

– Lower levels of clinical care quality and patient satisfaction
– Higher levels of medical errors and malpractice risk
– Higher levels of physician and staff turnover
– Higher levels of physician divorce, alcohol and drug addiction and suicide

Do you feel the trend here?

You don’t have to be a CFO to see how just one of these physician burnout effects hammers your bottom line. Put them together and what have you got? If your business was a ship, you are taking on water from a dozen different holes in your hull and everyone is bailing as fast as they can to keep you afloat.

physician wellness

The tragedy is … this is how a normal healthcare organization operates.

Here’s why the CFO is silent. This whole process is invisible to them.

No one tells CFOs what you just learned in the bullet points above. No one shows them the tax untreated physician burnout is placing on the Profit and Loss statement.

What they do pound the table for is higher patient flow and increased efficiency.  The CEO is leaning over their shoulder and that is the most obvious place to make improvements they can see.

Burnout is an elephant standing in the board room of every healthcare organization. Everyone does their best to ignore it. Most physicians and administrators have given up on things ever changing. It has gotten to the point where overwhelming workloads, barely manageable stress, compassion fatigue and turnover are considered normal for healthcare.

Physician Burnout is not normal: it is a known complication of a specific risk factor.

AND Physician Burnout is
– Identifiable
– Preventable
– Treatable

The research is strong.  To think that a burnout rate of 1 in 3 is NORMAL for doctors and there is nothing they can do about it is lunacy. And it is exactly how 95% of administrators see their doctors and staff.

So they just keep cracking the whip for you to see more patients. The C-suite pushes for more volume while the doctors are maxed out and only barely able to keep their heads above water.  No one realizes the resulting burnout is exactly what keeps everyone bailing like crazy just to keep the ship afloat.

An enlightened CFO understands the impact of physician burnout. They pound the boardroom table for things like …

Funds for twice a year physician and staff stress and burnout surveys

Funds for a standing Physician Burnout Prevention Committee charged to minimize the stress inherent in the business systems in any way necessary

Funds for improvement projects based on the survey results

Funds for onsite training in recognizing physician burnout and the most common prevention techniques for all doctors and staff

They understand that happy doctors are the source of happy patients and quality care

They realize that taking great care of your workers has multiple benefits that drop immediately to the bottom line

AND they can show the CEO the importance of physician burnout prevention funding

In the next several years,organizations with this kind of enlightened CFO will develop a competitive advantage in their respective marketplace. The patients will want to be seen there and the doctors will want to work there. Their ship will float high in the water without all the bailing their competitors require just to stay afloat.


Does your CFO understand physician burnout?
What do they pound the table for in your organization?
Feel free to share this article with them!


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