• Sara & Colin Taylor

Disengagement

What do you think of the concept of disengagement? Do you see yourself as disengaged? Are physicians, as a collective group, becoming more disengaged? We define it as a withdrawal or emotional detachment from something or someone you were once connected to. Sounds a bit like how burnout presents doesn't it? It is difficult to feel 'engaged' with the very thing that is beating you down day in and day out.

In thinking about this concept, we came upon Dr. Richard Gunderman's NEJM Catalyst article Poor Care Is the Root of Physician Disengagement, where he addresses the true root cause of poor care stemming from the healthcare system. It's the old 'chicken or the egg' phenomenon - are disengaged physicians leading to poor patient care or are physicians disengaging from patient care because "paperwork is proliferating, compliance standards are becoming more onerous, and health professionals are spending less time actually caring for patients"?

Let's face it - the practice of medicine is becoming far more complex and less forgiving to those who actually want to spend the necessary time in direct patient care. If our 'systems' want more engagement, which is to the betterment of patient care, they should be looking for solutions from the bottom up.

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