Physicians: The Culture of Complainers

Updated: Jun 16

The Black Hat thinking Attitude is not working in Favor of Physicians, after All!

This article was originally published in Data Driven Investor

Photo by Danylo Suprun on Unsplash

In general, and by nature, physicians are Black Hat thinkers because they tend to stare at a decision’s potentially negative consequences before they embrace the opinion. Physicians are always cautious and defensive with every judgment they come up with, merely Trying to see why it might not work. They simply highlight the vulnerable points in a blueprint, providing the opportunity to eliminate them, alter them, or prepare contingency plans to react to them. The physician black hat attitude only goes so far, as policies and bureaucracy ultimately prevail over physician decision-making style. The latter is the prerequisite to what we call chronic naggers or complainers amongst physicians. Physicians are complainers. They are profoundly distressed by healthcare problems that they feel powerless to improve. They feel simultaneously irritated and unhappy about their work condition and worry that it is their fault if a patient does not receive the care they need. Furthermore, they do not know how to reassure themselves. Physicians sense the Healthcare Problem before delivered to Patients Physicians and other healthcare experts alike are at the front line of medical care to their patients. It is just like knowing the negative outcome of a policy and how it will affect the quality of medical service they render before that policy is put to work. Such a position is the upshot of Black hat thinking. Nonetheless, policies and procedures funneled by non-medicals and politicians place the physicians in an awkward position; that is, take it or leave it! But physicians have obligations to their patients. That obligation will typically take the extra step to circumvent the negative consequences of some of the wrong policies brought up by faulty decisions. Generally speaking, Physicians by trait have been passive when it comes to administrative decisions because politicians and administrators are challenging, if ever, black hat thinkers. Their attitude is to focus on the possible alternative options that maintain public support. The latter places them at a much higher advantage over the physicians.

The Majority of Physicians are Complainers

The combination of Black hat thinking attitude, commitment to their patients, and passivity in response to administrative decisions has created a new behavior in the physician community, that is complaining. But complaining goes so far and gives the impression to focus its positive outcome on the individual physician vs. healthcare. At the very least, that is what Dr. Abe Kashani speculated on his blog in 2014. According to him, one can see four reasons why doctors who protest are those who become successful. First- because complaining implies that physicians are actively acknowledging that there is a problem with the prevailing circumstances. Second- by opposing, they tend to express that they have enough self-esteem to feel that they merit better options. Third- those who complain are trying to show that they are not hesitant to express their dissatisfaction. And finally- physicians see Complaining as an indicator of urgency for reform.

Kashani assumes passive doctors are inadvertently drifting along with the stream. The complainers always find the flow impediments to getting ahead of the rest of the medical community.

What Dr. Kashani is implying summarizes the nuts and bolts of how physicians are and what delineates the individual physician’s success. His vision also points to the same, Black Hat thinking trait that physicians typically possess. Furthermore, passivity and any given physician’s activeness is the upshot of the balance of power between which direction that physician should proceed. The passive may simply be the burned-out physician who kept trying to deliver top-notch care to their patients but couldn’t sustain it any longer. Whereas, the active complainer may be the one who finds the opportunity to use the system to their benefit, irrespective of the effect that decision would be having on the patient care. The Patient-Centered Physician will Burnout while Complaining!

Physician Burnout remains to be very high, according to a 2020 report. The majority of physicians feel overly pessimistic about any future improvement. Of all the physicians surveyed, 42% felt burned out. According to a survey published by Medscape, independent physicians might experience less burnout because they are in charge of their workload. Fifty-five percent of physicians alleged they had to cope with excessive bureaucratic responsibilities, while 33% held they were spending many of their personal hours at work.

Long periods, workload, and a dearth of support have unswervingly outranked as the top contributors to physician burnout over the last decade. More than 60% of physicians said they do not plan to seek help for their burnout or depression. About half said their symptoms weren’t severe enough when asked why, while others responded that they could deal with their burnout without professional help or were only too busy.

Once again, physician burnout is a symptom, and not the disease, per se. It is the product of a responsible and good doctor rewarded for his or her “Black Hat thought process” with an unclear destination. Despite all said, all they can do, at best, complain. But is complaining about going to help?

Physicians have become a Profession of Whiners

Doctors are becoming more than ever recognized as whiners. Those who have met physicians in meetings, dinners, parties, social media, and doctor lounges have probably noticed how much time they spend the day in and day out complaining about extended work hours and workover loads. They continuously criticize the system and even try to discourage the junior from pursuing a medical profession. The mainstream physician community is riddled with the bulk of upset voices indicating that modern healthcare is a monster, even though they want to help and practice what they know best.

Physicians Whine strongly acknowledge that despite the need to refurbish and repair significant parts of healthcare, many change elements imperil the ability to interact with patients and disrupt the physician-patient relationship. Physicians don’t justify themselves. They do not rant for treasure or personal distinction, but for those who trust their parties to the medical service.

Complaining won’t Solve the Healthcare Problem

We have some serious problems concerning healthcare, but complaining isn’t going to help. We have to be a part of the solution by disassociating ourselves from the situation and stop complaining.

Physicians appreciate what they need and want from their professional life. There are some areas and solutions that they disagree with and can’t help complaining about. However, the state of healthcare is not how it ideally should have been. Complaining won’t remedy anything to the ongoing healthcare problems. And indeed, passivity is not the answer either!

You may think complaining is just venting off, serving as an opportunity to let out some steam. But it has much more unfavorable impacts on the system as a whole and can be soul-draining for anyone who receives it.

Physicians Blame Healthcare Technology

We have been lamenting about the interruption that technological mandates have brought to physician practices in the recent decade. But technology can leverage doctor’s practice only if used in the right way. According to a Study Physician, Burnout seems to correlate with Electronic Health Record Usage (EHR) directly. Forty percent of physician burnout is attributable to EHRs, up from the previously estimated 13 percent. That is why powerful technologies like EHR have met with many criticisms from physicians, some of which turn out to be accurate. With the advent of the Merit-based physician reimbursement, a medical record that used to be a few lines to document now may be over two pages long. That is even more stressful when the time allowed for a patient visit as being the same, if not lowered to 15 min.

In 2009, when the HITECH (Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health) Act was enacted into legislation, EHRs were reckoned to lessen administrative burden, lead to more cost-effective healthcare, and reduce paper waste. But so far, it hasn’t. Instead has created more physician whiners.