Dr Jeff Patton Explains How Physician Shortage, Burnout Are Impacting Community Oncologists

April 22, 2019

While the physician shortage is having an impact in rural areas, the impact of physician burnout is happening across the board, said Jeff Patton, MD, chief executive officer of Tennessee Oncology.

While the physician shortage is having an impact in rural areas, the impact of physician burnout is happening across the board, said Jeff Patton, MD, chief executive officer of Tennessee Oncology.

Transcript

How are both physician burnout and the physician shortage impacting community oncologists?

Physician burnout’s a huge issue everywhere, but I don’t think it’s affecting the supply and demand of physicians in urban areas. But in rural areas, which in Tennessee we have rural areas, we’ve got a list of 20 fellows that want to come work for us in Nashville, but they don’t want to live 2 hours away from town in rural areas. So, the physician shortage is definitely impacting rural care.

Physician burnout is across the board, and it’s not just oncologists. What we do is difficult, but physician burnout is across the board. The regulatory and utilization management requirements, particularly for doctors like me who practiced back when it was more fun, it’s really kind of squeezed the fun out of it and has created frustration and burnout. That’s one, and then the compliance with coding—we’re very expensive data entry clerks, which is just not a good utilization of resources.