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Preventing Burnout and Achieving the Quadruple Aim
Episode

Dike Drummond, CEO and Founder of TheHappyMD

Preventing Burnout and Achieving the Quadruple Aim

In this episode, we are privileged to host Dr. Dike Drummond, a Mayo trained Family Practice Physician and CEO and Founder of TheHappyMD. Dike shares his personal experience of dealing with burnout and what he has learned from that experience. He also discusses how he has developed a course and discovered tools that can help physicians struggling with burnout to overcome the challenge and live a more balanced lifestyle.  He talks about the impact of doctor’s training in burnout and how he teaches people to recognize burnout symptoms and direct them to use their ideal practice, one that they have created on their terms and that matches that ideal practice description.
Aside from working with clinicians, TheHappyMD team also works with leadership teams inside organizations so that both the doctors and the organizations are happy which then propagates a healthier environment for everybody.

Dike also shared great insights, anecdotes, the right attitude, perspective, and more so please tune in!

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Preventing Burnout and Achieving the Quadruple Aim

About Dr. Dike Drummond

Dike Drummond MD is a Mayo trained Family Practice Physician, burnout survivor, and  the CEO and Founder of TheHappyMD.com.

He teaches simple methods to lower stress, build more life balance and a more ideal practice. These tools were discovered and tested by Dr. Drummonds. Three thousand hours of physician coaching experience since 2010. He’s also delivering live burnout prevention training to over forty thousand physicians and behalf of one hundred and seventy five corporate and association clients on four continents. He’s busy because he loves what he does, and just helping physicians avoid burnout to begin with is a passion of his.

Preventing Burnout and Achieving the Quadruple Aim with Dike Drummond, CEO and Founder of TheHappyMD transcript powered by Sonix—easily convert your audio to text with Sonix.

Preventing Burnout and Achieving the Quadruple Aim with Dike Drummond, CEO and Founder of TheHappyMD was automatically transcribed by Sonix with the latest audio-to-text algorithms. This transcript may contain errors. Sonix is the best audio automated transcription service in 2020. Our automated transcription algorithms works with many of the popular audio file formats.

Saul Marquez:
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Saul Marquez:
Welcome back to the Outcomes Rocket, thanks for tuning in again, Today, I have the privilege of hosting Dr. Dike Drummond. He is a Mayo trained family practice, physician burnout survivor, executive coach and founder of the HappyMD.com. He teaches simple methods to lower stress, build more life balance and a more ideal practice. These tools were discovered and tested by Dr. Drummonds. Three thousand hours of physician coaching experience since 2010. He’s also delivering live burnout prevention training to over forty thousand physicians and behalf of one hundred and seventy five corporate and association clients on four continents. He’s busy because he loves what he does, and just helping physicians avoid burnout to begin with is a passion of his. So I’m privileged to have you on the podcast Dike. Thanks so much for joining me.

Dr. Dike Drummond:
Thanks Saul. So it’s great to be here.

Saul Marquez:
Absolutely. So before we dive into the HappyMD.com and all the work that you’re doing there and to improve the lives of physicians and in effect, everybody else that they care for, tell me a little bit about you and what inspires your work and health care.

Dr. Dike Drummond:
I’m a family doc. I graduated med school, did my residency in the UC Davis system up in Redding, California, and for ten years I was a full service family doc in Mt. Vernon, Washington, which is about halfway between Seattle and Vancouver, B.C. And I was one of those full service guys, ultimately delivered five hundred babies, was a forty doctor multi specialty group there, and I flamed out in my practice back in the year 2000. For me it was kind of unusual. I had a period of time where every time I wanted to work, it felt like somebody had me in a chokehold. It was a real strong physical sensation. I took 30 days off, did a sabbatical, hoping it would go away. And it didn’t when I went back to work and returned. So my only coping mechanism at the time was to actually sign my resignation and walk away from my career, which I don’t recommend as a transition strategy. So if anybody is actually listening, don’t walk away and burn those bridges, because you’ve invested a lot in your choice to be a healer and a light worker. And it’s important not to let the structure of what you call your current practice take that away from you, because that’s the contribution you’re meant to make in this lifetime. At least that’s what I believe. So what I do is I work to help people who’ve made the extraordinary choice to go to medical school and become a doctor and a healer and a light worker, be able to create a way of making a living that allows them to do that in their life and allows them to have a life, an extraordinary life because of this choice to have an extraordinary career, rather than had the career in the practice getting in the way of having a life in the first place.

Dr. Dike Drummond:
And I am an external right now. I don’t see patients for insurance money. I haven’t for quite a while. However, what I do is I work with doctors who are still seeing patients to give them some very simple tools to turn around burnout and lead a more a more efficient practice and a more balanced life. And again, everything that we do has ten years of experience and several thousand doctors worth of testing on the tools that we teach. So it’s really fun to be able to teach somebody something that I know is going to work. And a lot of times it’s it’s in those blind spots that are medical education create. So it’s really fun to show you something for the first time and have you practice it and come back the next week and tell me, man, that really worked. That’s very fulfilling for me.

Saul Marquez:
I’m sure. I’m sure it is. And there’s there’s a big opportunity to help on the physician front. And so I would love to hear more about how you and and TheHappyMD method is doing that. You share more about how you guys do it.

Dr. Dike Drummond:
Yeah. Oh, yeah, absolutely. So add the happy ending. At this point, we have six coaches, so I have a team of six coaches around me and they’ve all been trained in the techniques that we’ve discovered over the last ten years or so. But basically what we have to do for anybody in the helping professions, not just doctors, these are all lessons we learned with doctors, but they apply to anybody who puts their clients first, their patients first. So doctors do respect teachers, nurses, even medical administrators in some cases. But basically there are some things that are left out of your education process because especially for physicians, the seven to 12 years that you spend in medical school and residency are actually a survival contest. They’re not meant to set you up for a healthy balance life. They’re just something to be survived. And it doesn’t even matter the quality of the work that you do, as long as you follow instructions and complete the tasks. Right. So Saul, I mean, honest to gosh, what do they call the person who graduates from their medical school class? Doctor. Exactly. So I have to do is make it to the end. And what you learn in medical school and residency is to push yourself beyond exhaustion, to not take care of your physical needs to not take care of your emotional needs, are you with me? You learn how to take really bad care of yourself and then when you’re out, by the time that happens, you’ve completely forgotten that you have free will. So after having followed instructions to the T for seven to 12 years, most doctors graduate into their practice and they’re just looking for somebody to tell them what to do. And so you interview for a job and they’re more than happy to tell you what to do. They call it the way we do things around here. It’s their job description. But what happens is you start as a happy soldier doing what everybody expects of you coloring inside the lines. And eventually it gets kind of uncomfortable because what are the odds that the practice description where you were hired is pointed right at your ideal practice? What are the odds of that? The answer is about zero. So for most of us, sooner or later, we get uncomfortable down the road a couple of years and at some point in time, if you keep following somebody else’s vision of the way your practice should be, you may get to a crisis point.

Dr. Dike Drummond:
That’s burnout. That’s where you say I can’t take it anymore. And you you pivot. Ideally, if you do a good job of burning out, you pivot to changing your practice and maybe even changing your job position to one that has more purpose where it feels like you’re making the difference. You were put here to make if you do a good job. And unfortunately, if the forces of darkness swallow you up at that point, it can lead to drugs, alcohol and suicide. And that’s a well documented complication of burnout. But if you’ve ever had a turning point in your career where you say to yourself, man, if I hadn’t made that change, that change back then I wouldn’t be the person I am today. That’s a burnout turning point towards purpose. So what I do is I teach people how to recognize burnout symptoms when they sneak around the edges, and then I teach them how to build a description of their ideal practice and to begin to move in that direction using their ideal practice as a target and creating a career on their own terms that matches that ideal practice description as much as possible.

Saul Marquez:
I think that’s great. And it’s about deciding for yourself and and being able to define it and giving them the tools and strategies to be able to get after it. Once they’ve established that and has what you do, improved outcomes or made business better for some of these physicians?

Dr. Dike Drummond:
Oh, absolutely. I mean, you can go to our testimonial page and see see, basically I stopped collecting testimonials just a couple of years into my practice. Every time my wife looks at the page, she says it’s too long. And I say, that’s the point. Right. But no, no, I know that the tools work because I get immediate feedback from folks that we have as coaching clients and workshop participants. And having said that, though, what I’ll also tell you is that in addition to working with individual physicians and the individual physician would be being coached and in the workshop for their own personal burnout, prevention, for their own personal practice quality. We also work with leadership teams inside organizations, because the truth about physician burnout is that when you have a doctor who works inside a health care delivery organization, it’s a classic canary in the coal mine. And the key is that burnout. Here’s another key insight is that burnout is not a problem, meaning it doesn’t have a solution, meaning that there isn’t one thing you can do one time and you never have to worry about burnout again. Burnout is a classic dilemma. In the way you deal with a dilemma is with a strategy which has more than one component. So in order to prevent physician burnout inside an organization where you have a bunch of doctors working for a hospital, for instance, you have to have a strategy for the canary. So you have to be able to take care of yourself. And they don’t teach you how to do this in medical school. But you also have to have a strategy at the level of the coal mine or the organization. Otherwise, the doctors are simply defending themselves against a hostile culture and systems that don’t work. Now, unfortunately, that’s true for about 90 percent of doctors in the US. But what we work to do is help leaders build supportive cultures and systems that work so that both the doctors and the organization are playing a role and keeping them all happy and healthy, if that makes sense.

Saul Marquez:
It does. It does. It makes a lot of sense. And that culture then propagates a healthier environment for everybody. If you had to reflect on one of the biggest setbacks you’ve had in your coaching and speaking experience, what is that setback and what was the key learning?

Dr. Dike Drummond:
Well, I would say it was my own personal recovery from burnout in my own personal work with my coach. And to be one hundred percent clear, everybody’s insights, everybody’s burnout and everybody’s recovery is different, but. This is what happened to me. It turns out that I was raised in a family where nobody would ever have stated it this way, but performance was very important for me. I was first born male child. My parents were the first college educated folks and their families. And I was expected to achieve academically. And I did. Yeah. And having said that, though, my family was not particularly free with its praises. So. So I got attention if I didn’t get the straight A’s, but I didn’t get a lot of attention if I did. And so as I was growing up, what I was wanting to do was to have my parents say, hey, and I would performance is everything OK now? I was looking for some sort of positive reinforcement. You know, it is when you’re a doctor, you used to get great it straight A’s and performing and all that.

Dr. Dike Drummond:
And it was when I realized that rather than than judging myself on my performance, if I could look around and I call it the reverse differential diagnosis, if I look around, I consider myself, how is everything perfect right now? And again, this is against the programming of a physician. We diagnose and treat. We see problems everywhere. Right. But how is everything perfect right now? And if you put yourself in that mindset, you can see that you’re actually showered with blessings at all times, especially if I say, you know what, you know what a differential diagnosis is. Right.

Saul Marquez:
If you’re asking me no I don’t.

Dr. Dike Drummond:
I know I’m going to show you a skin spot and I’m going to say, Sol, how many different conditions could produce that skin spot and normally their deadly conditions? So we’re talking about a little brown spot on your arm. How many different ways could you die from whatever is causing that on the inside? This is a doctor’s mindset, right? Well, differential diagnosis is what are make a list of all the things you are not being afflicted by right now.

Saul Marquez:
Ah Ok,

Dr. Dike Drummond:
So I don’t have dye fill a bathroom. no malignant melanoma not having an acute. Am I right. I don’t have covered or a stroke. I could keep going for hours after hours after hours. And all of those things are not happening to me right now. So I could be grateful for that rather than worrying about things that might happen down the line.

Saul Marquez:
Yeah, it begins with gratitude.

Dr. Dike Drummond:
It begins with acknowledging your blessings. Like, for instance, let me just ask a couple of questions. And this is straight from Tich, not hands for a crit. Do your teeth hurt right now? You could be grateful for your non toothache. Are your underpants dry right now? They are some they won’t someday. It will not be that way. And you could be grateful that that’s not today.

Saul Marquez:
And the list goes on. I get it. That’s great. And you know, it’s that reframe is so important in many of us, physician or not, can get stuck in a rut if our frame is is not set. Right.

Dr. Dike Drummond:
Well, hang on a second. Let’s just be really clear. Physicians are professionals at rut because again, because, again, what we do for a living on a very short time frame multiple times every day is to listen to somebody, tell us what they’re experiencing and then imagine all the different deadly things that could cause those symptoms. So, for instance, just from a general philosophic awareness viewpoint, if I grab one of my doctor friends and we go on a vacation in New York City and we happen to be in the balcony above Grand Central Station, and you’ve you’ve seen this this floor of Grand Central Station down below. You’ve seen dancers there and you’ve seen bands there and all that kind of stuff. You know what I’m talking about? If we sat me and my doctor friend Right. sat on the railing above and looked down below, it would take each of us about ten seconds to point out the only person down below who’s limping. We would point in them at the same moment and then we’d get in a heated debate over whether it’s their hip or their knee. And only doctors do that in that same span. Down below, there’s also a dad playing with his daughter, Right., and the guy on his knee proposing to his now fiancee all this stuff. So, no, we see the one is limping because that’s what we’re trained to do, is to see the problems. You talk about gratitude all you want, but it’s against physician programming to find things that are that are working, that are good and that you might want to acknowledge and celebrate.

Saul Marquez:
That is fair. That is fair. And something to think about at home or on the ride you’re on right now or that extra push up you’re doing as you listen to us, you know, as is your mind train to see the problem, or is it time for you to think about the solution?

Dr. Dike Drummond:
Well, and it’s different than that for doctors. OK, that’s very linear. But OK, in order for you to step out of your physician program, you must actually step out of it. I call it the whirlwind. Right. So all of us physicians, you walk into your practice, you just step right into a whirlwind every. Things coming at you from all directions and you know exactly what I’m talking about. You have to have a way to actually release the whirlwind and let it go. It will be there when you go back to work tomorrow. But for right now, take a big, deep breath in and let go of anything that doesn’t need to be here right now. And if you want, you can reach up on your head and use your hand to imagine you’re taking off your doctor hat. Let the doctor go. Ideally, they would have taught you in medical school and residency how to take the doctor off when you go home, just like the white coat. But we never get taught that boundary ritual, which is one of the key lessons that we teach all of our coaching clients. It’s it’s much more in doctors than just a word, a phrase. It is a difficult skill to learn because you’ve got seven years of continuous conditioning that beats it out of you.

Saul Marquez:
Yeah, that’s great. That’s great. And so what what are you most excited about today?

Dr. Dike Drummond:
I am. It’s it’s Chinese. Interesting times. What is it? The symbol is a combination of what? Danger and change or something like that. Right. We’re here now and we’re flirting with phase two of the covid epidemic, the economic performance of almost every health care organization that in states has been destroyed. Even mail is going to lose three billion dollars this year. There’s a whole bunch of traumatized folks that have already been taking care of patients through the first wave of covered in the rest of the of the providers are freaked out because they’ve been furloughed and slowed down for a while. The whole health care niche in America, especially on the fee for service side, is going is going to undergo some radical change in the next 12 months. Unfortunately, all the money has been wrung out of the system. So we did have a movement in its infancy that was supporting physician wellness inside large organizations. It remains to be seen how we will take better care of the doctors and staff in the future, the people who take care of the patients. But what I know is this, and I ask everybody this question, I’ll ask you this question. So in the wake of this pandemic, do you think that the health and well-being of the physicians and staff is going to be less or more important? Well, I would say more.

Dr. Dike Drummond:
It’s going to be a situation where I believe at last we will see the organizations that take better care of their people produce better outcomes, better financial performance, better retention, better morale would be a better place to be a patient. All of those things are going to be true and we’re going to have to do it in a new way. That’s more cost effective than the wellness programs of years gone past because the money is simply going to run out of the system. The other thing I hope is that we see a mass movement to full risk contracting capitation because the organizations that accept capitation as a significant portion of their income right now are not getting hit. Their income is not being decimated. It’s the fee for service institutions that are really taking the hit right now. And so there may be a change in the payer mix and the payer mechanisms that will support more stable income and allow us to build better wellness programs on top of that stability.

Saul Marquez:
Well, it’s physician wellness is critical. We’re we’re going through some tough times right now as a health care economy, as a as a group of health care workers. And we have to do our part. So we appreciate the work that you’re doing. Dr. Drummond, I’m on the wave of physician wellness. And folks, if you want to learn more about what Dr. Drummond is doing, go to the happy M.D. Dotcom. You can also check it out on the podcast. Its outcomes rocket that health in the search bar type in the happy M.D. You’ll see a full transcript of our of our chat with Dyker, as well as show notes and links to things that we’ve discussed that are of of importance. Why don’t you leave us with a closing thought, Dike?

Dr. Dike Drummond:
And then we could conclude, what I want to do is support your agency, your understanding that you can take charge of your career and you can have a more satisfying practice. It’s just a question of stepping up to decide what that would look like. So here’s a quote for you. You don’t get what you want in life. You get what you tolerate, someone in the way. One of the ways to get more of what you want is to simply stop tolerating anything less powerful.

Saul Marquez:
That’s certainly powerful. And and that’s something that I will think about and that I think all of the listeners will be thinking about. And I think one last question. If the listeners want to get in touch with you, what’s the best way that they could do that?

Dr. Dike Drummond:
Well, just go to the happy dot com and then there’s a little tab on the website says contact. And anything that you type into that contact form comes straight to me lot love.

Saul Marquez:
It doesn’t get any more personal than that. So I appreciate the the direct. Take the opportunity there, Dike, and as well as the listeners do, and I just want to say thanks again for the work that you’re doing in the space to make it better, both outcomes and business. Thanks again for being with us.

Dr. Dike Drummond:
You are welcome.

Saul Marquez:
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Things You’ll Learn
  • When you’re experiencing burnout, don’t burn bridges. You’ve invested a lot in your choice to be a healer and light worker.
  • Your work as a doctor is what you are meant to make in this life.
  • The right attitude begins with acknowledging your blessings.

 

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