Interim Physicians Blog

Dr. Ken’s Corner: Locum Tenens Doctors Confronting Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Posted by Ken Teufel M.D. on Mar 11, 2020 4:33:40 PM

As COVID-19 continues to spread, locum tenens doctors will be asked to help their colleagues as never before. In addition to caring for patients, they will need to take measures to safeguard their own health and that of other healthcare personnel.

Although every practice situation will be different in some way, there are a few basic questions that need to be answered:

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Topics: Dr. Ken's Corner

Dr. Ken’s Corner: Loneliness Reaches Pandemic Levels

Posted by Ken Teufel M.D. on Mar 2, 2020 4:19:58 PM

Loneliness is a public health issue — widespread, pervasive, rife, and rampant. Making matters worse, Americans are getting lonelier — increasing from 54% in 2018 to 61% in 2019 (USA Today, January 23, 2020). “Loneliness is a growing concern in healthcare as it can compromise both mental and physical health,” said Dr. Doug Nemecek, chief medical officer for behavioral health at Cigna. He points out that loneliness increases the risk of death by the same amount as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.   

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Dr. Ken’s Corner: Nurse Burnout Prompts Growing Concern

Posted by Ken Teufel M.D. on Jan 29, 2020 1:31:33 PM

Shockingly, 50% of nurses have thought about leaving their profession, according to a recent study by RN Network. Simply stated, they’re burning out. Up until now, it’s been a malady that’s been hidden from view, despite it’s negative impact on the quality of patient care. Whether one is referring to physicians or nurses, the signs and symptoms of burnout are the same: emotional exhaustion, detachment, cynicism, and a lack of a sense of personal accomplishment.

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Topics: Dr. Ken's Corner, Nurse Practitioners

Dr. Ken's Corner: Rural Physicians Workforce in Jeopardy

Posted by Ken Teufel M.D. on Jan 9, 2020 2:56:11 PM

On its current path, the nation's rural physician workforce will decline by nearly 25% in ten years. According to the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), there are currently 12 physicians per 10,000 rural residents. However, this number is projected to take a dramatic drop, falling to 9.4 per 10,000 by 2030, primarily because of the large number of rural physicians who will be reaching retirement age. In comparison, the supply of non rural physicians is expected to remain steady at about 30 physicians per 10,000 population. In other words, in 2030, there will be one third as many rural practicing physicians per capita than those practicing in urban and suburban areas.

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Topics: Dr. Ken's Corner

Dr. Ken's Corner: landmark report addresses physician burnout

Posted by Ken Teufel M.D. on Nov 20, 2019 12:17:45 PM

It's not the doctor's fault – blame the system! That's the underlying message in the landmark report released October 23, 2019 by the prestigious National Academy of Medicine. "You can't just teach doctors meditation, yoga, and self-care. We need big, fundamental changes," said Christine Cassel, M.D., professor of medicine at University of California at San Francisco and co-chair of the committee of experts who wrote the report. "What this report is saying is that this is a systemic problem that requires systemic solutions." It's time to stop blaming the victim.

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Topics: Physician Burnout, Dr. Ken's Corner

Dr. Ken's Corner: surgeons can achieve pain control with fewer opioids

Posted by Ken Teufel M.D. on Oct 24, 2019 9:45:25 AM

Surgeons are finding that they can prescribe fewer pain-killing opioids after surgical procedures and still achieve effective pain relief. "In the months after new guidelines went into place [in Michigan], the number of opioid pills being prescribed to surgery patients fell by one-third overall, yet there was no change in patients' satisfaction with their pain control." The findings were published in the August 15 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. "This isn't just about reducing opioid use," said lead researcher Dr. Jocelyn Vu. "It's also about giving patients the best care for their pain.”

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Topics: Dr. Ken's Corner