Stop selling me productivity. What I really want is tools that will make me more purposeful.

I’m in healthcare. My email inbox is bombarded by software offers that promise a better (read: faster) office environment. This addresses a real problem. More patients plus lower reimbursement equals a greater need for efficiency. But I’m betting that many other doctors and nurses are feeling like hamsters on wheels, running faster and faster—to the point of burnout. Accelerated by the pandemic, 3 in 10 healthcare workers are thinking of leaving the profession.

It wasn’t supposed to be this way. When I went into healthcare, I thought it would be a career based in science, and expected that I’d make not a lot of money, but at least enough money. Most importantly, I thought I’d make a difference in the lives of others.

I’ve written before about discharged patients being cast off an the ocean liner of the hospital to fend for themselves clinging to a buoy in real life. Equally bad. All the work that goes into the patient’s journey to wellness is forgotten. It seems that today’s providers are asked to get patients in and then to get them out—treat as fast as possible. The long-term benefit to the patient is lost.

Outside of my practice, much of my work is focused on telemedicine—connecting providers to patients. However, an overlooked opportunity may be connecting patients to providers after their treatment, helping put purpose back in the work.

Let me give you some examples. Years ago, I helped build Mihospital, an application designed to for patients to give feedback about their stay and allowing them to thank their nurses and doctors after they left the hospital. This was done via small comments collected during the post-discharge phone call. As far as I know, this remains the only healthcare application with its own song written by the nurses. Although not every healthcare experience is positive, patients and families are often grateful for the care they receive, but the providers are rarely given this feedback. What if this could be upscaled from notes to video? A mother whose child finally received the care she needed; a son whose parent was treated with grace? More than notes, a video component has the potential to reignite the purpose many of us felt going into healthcare.

We have built a Gordian knot of care. Let’s continue to build better tools. But the ever-present demand to do more is a recipe for burnout. Faster will only get us so far. 

Healthcare is about people. People require purpose. 

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Reader Interactions


  1. I think every doctor and nurse will nod as they read this and I am deeply concerned by the number of clinicians dropping out of their profession. However I think the thing driving the tools to hurry clinicians up is the consumerism of healthcare! Can’t wait to talk to you about this at HLTH!

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