Dialogue Volume 15 Issue 1 2019 | Page 21

CLOSE UP doctors are not choosing to do lower risk procedures for fear of retribution from the College. We need to convey that we understand that the very nature of complex care means that there will be a greater likelihood of adverse outcomes. Q&A Q: Do you think physician burnout is becoming more pervasive? A: Definitely. I think there are higher expecta- tions for physicians. Providing medicine in a digital world presents huge opportunity but it also creates huge burden. One simple example of this is that you can face a public flogging on an anonymous rating site if a patient is unhappy with your care on a particular day. Q: Is burnout a regulatory issue? A: Fallout from burnout is definitely a regulatory issue. If a doctor feels disengaged from her/his practice or is not able to be in the moment with a patient because he is overwhelmed by the eight other things that he needs to be doing right then, that is a concern. And it’s a concern for a whole host of reasons, not least of which is that patient care will be adversely affected. We need to be cognizant about the prevalence of physician burnout and be a partner in ensuring that resources are available for help. A healthier physician workforce will provide better health care to their patients. Q: Are you going to continue your clinical practice? A: Yes. I appreciate now, having taken this role, that understanding the real day-to-day concerns of front-line clinicians will inform my work at the College in important ways. I think it is essential to stay grounded in the issues that affect physicians and their work. Q: What led to the development of a learning module for physicians about domestic abuse? A: In my role at WCH, I had a conversa- tion with other medical leaders after the murder of Dr. Elana Fric. We realized that we needed to be more knowledgeable about recognizing when health-care provid- ers are experiencing domestic violence, and how to safely provide them the sup- port they need. In doing this, we realized that we had an opportunity to train other physicians and health professionals. The module will be utilized by several thousand physicians in Ontario, and we hope it will prevent future cases of domestic violence. One thing we didn’t really anticipate was that we would also be able to use what we had learned to help our patients. In the face of terrible tragedy, we hope to bring some meaning, and positive change to our health system. Q: Are you comfortable in the role of advocate? A: Yes. I think, for physicians, not only is it okay to be an advocate, but it is often im- perative. The CanMEDS health advocate role anticipates that physicians will use their posi- tion of privilege to improve the health not only of their patients, but of their health system. To me, the keys in advocating for change are to take a principled approach, use the scien- tific evidence, and advocate for greater public benefit. MD ISSUE 1, 2019 DIALOGUE 21