The Dark side of Compassionate Care, Physician Burnout, with Trauma Surgeon, Entrepreneur, Podcaster and Bestselling Author, Dr. Nii Darko

The suicide rate among physicians tops that of combat veterans. About 300 to 400 US physicians take their own lives every year, a rate that is higher than that of the general public “by 40% for men and an astonishing 130% for women,” The price tag for physician burnout runs at $4.6 billion annually when the costs associated with turnover and reduced clinical hours are tallied. Burnout is widely recognized as an urgent issue for the medical profession, with about 54% of physicians reporting one or more symptoms in previous studies. The condition is marked by emotional exhaustion, feelings of cynicism and detachment from work, and a sense of low personal accomplishment.

Looking at the costs for healthcare organizations, they found an annual cost attributable to burnout estimated at roughly $7,600 per physician. The analysis does not fully factor in potential costs to a practice or hospital, as it captures only direct revenue losses as a result of a physician vacancy. Indirect costs may include a loss of patients to other practices when a physician leaves.”In addition, as patient satisfaction diminishes with reduced quality of care from physician burnout, the organization may enjoy less favorable contracting with payers or see reduced annual reimbursements drop because of low patient satisfaction scores,”.The several factors in estimating the cost of replacing physicians, including search costs, hiring costs, and physician startup expenses, or what are termed friction costs by economists.

Dr. Nii Darko is a Board-certified General Surgeon who is pushing past the limits of the status quo. He hosts Docs Outside the Box, an Apple Podcasts Top 100 in Careers –where he highlights stories of doctors doing extraordinary things outside of medicine to inspire other doctors to think outside the box. Through his successful locum tenens business, Equal Access Health, physicians are empowered to have the lifestyle they deserve. Alongside his wife, he does yearly medical humanitarian work to the underserved in Ghana. Dr. Nii Darko holds a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) from Kansas City University of Medicine & Biosciences and an M.B.A. in Health Care Leadership from Rockhurst University. He completed his General Surgery residency at Morehouse School of Medicine. He then went on to complete a Trauma/Surgical Critical Care fellowship at the University of Miami. Dr. Nii Darko is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons.