S3 Ep 064 What Dr. Sapna Shah-Haque Wants Physicians to Understand About Burnout

In this episode, Dr. Shah-Haque talks about burnout and how she developed a passion for investigating the different aspects of burnout in the healthcare industry
S3Ep64 Dr. Sapna Shah-Haque


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Show Notes

In this episode, we are excited to introduce our guest, Dr. Sapna Shah-Haque, a board-certified Internal Medicine physician. She was born and raised in Kansas and attended the University of Kansas School of Medicine. She completed her Internal Medicine residency at KU-Wichita as well.

After experiencing burnout herself and witnessing other physician colleagues go through similar struggles, she developed a passion for investigating the different aspects of burnout in the healthcare industry. While she acknowledges that the system is broken and needs to change, this podcast is a way to reach out to physicians and bring attention to what is, unfortunately, not an isolated situation.

In this episode, you will hear:

  • What burnout is and how it is defined by doctors and the WHO. 
  • The ways in which the medical system is counterintuitive. 
  • Reasons physicians do not seek help for mental health
  • The epidemic of physician suicides and how the system is built against doctors from medical school. 
  • Listen to the nurses, doctors, and other healthcare workers. They will tell you what they need. It is up to the institutions and hospitals to listen and understand. 
  • Advice for medical students and residents to avoid burnout. 
  • Pros and cons of technology to physician burnout. 
  • Better supporting physicians as patients, friends, family, and members of society. 

Dr. Sapna Shah-Haque, MD, is a board-certified Internal Medicine physician. She was born and raised in Kansas, and attended medical school at the University of Kansas [KU] School of Medicine. She completed her Internal Medicine residency at KU-Wichita as well. After experiencing burnout herself and watching other physician colleagues burn out, it became a passion of hers to look into different aspects of burnout. While the system does need to change, as it is broken, this podcast is a way to reach physicians and possibly shed light on what is not an isolated situation.

Episode References: 

Connect with Dr. Sapna A Shah-Haque:

Website: https://www.theworthyphysician.com/ 

Email: [email protected] 

Podcast: https://www.theworthyphysician.com/podcast 

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sshahhaque 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SapnaShahHaque Book Contribution: Thriving After Burnout – https://www.amazon.com/Thriving-After-Burnout-Compilation-Strategies/dp/B0BRYZQX2P

Connect with R Blank and Stephanie Warner: For more Healthier Tech Podcast episodes and to download our Healthier Tech Quick Start Guide, visit https://www.healthiertech.co and follow https://instagram.com/healthiertech

Additional Links:


Dr. Sapna Shah-Haque 0:00
We know that if you can, if somebody feels valued, and not just blowing smoke, but if somebody actually feels valued, they’re gonna go above and beyond. When there is a culture of well being within the organisation, putting people first and making them actually feel like they matter and not just giving them lip service. That’s a solution right there.

Announcer 0:25
Welcome to the healthier tech podcast, the show about building a healthier relationship with modern technology. Now here are your hosts R blank and Stephanie Warner.

R Blank 0:37
Hey, Steph, so So have you ever felt burnt out?

Stephanie Warner 0:42
Today? I think you’ll hear it a little bit in my I think you’ll hear it a little bit in my tone. I’m definitely feeling a little a little bit burnt out and not you know, a temporary way not a not a

R Blank 0:54
well claim. It’s almost synchronicity because that’s what today’s show is about. It is. But today’s show with Dr. Sapna Shaw Hawk is, is not about burnout in podcast hosts. Although maybe we should get that coverage. We’ll talk to our producers, but no burnout in amongst physicians and in the healthcare sector. And as I talked about, with with Sapna I think it was after we stopped recording, but I said, you know, we talk about issues related to burnout a lot on this show. And I don’t think we’ve ever actually talked about burnout specifically. And then beyond that, until the pandemic hit, and you started seeing all these stories about doctors and nurses getting burnt out and leaving the field. I’d never even thought about burnout in the medical profession, specifically. And, you know, as you’re gonna, as our listeners are going to hear in this interview, it’s it’s it’s a serious thing with, I mean, with with suicide, it escalating to a pretty high rate of suicide. And so, this, this is a very, I would say, a deep and deeply informative interview that we’re about to hear. Yeah, absolutely.

Stephanie Warner 2:12
And I really, the only thing I want to add to that is, is that I I urge everyone who’s listening to just just take a few breaths, stop what you’re doing and listen to this interview with your with your whole heart because it is really key and hearing from hearing her her perspective is it’s like it can it can alter how we look at the medical profession and medical professionals and I think we really need to do that. So I’m excited for everyone to hear this.

R Blank 2:45
So let’s get into it. All right, let’s do it. In this episode, we are excited to introduce our guest Dr. Sapna Shaw Hawk, a Board Certified internal medicine physician. She was born and raised in Kansas and attended the University of Kansas School of Medicine. She completed her internal medicine residency at KU Wichita. After experiencing burnout herself and witnessing other physician colleagues go through similar struggles. She developed a passion for investigating the different aspects of burnout in the healthcare industry. While she acknowledges that the system is broken and needs to change, her podcast is a way to reach out to physicians and bring attention to what is unfortunately not an isolated situation. Welcome to the healthier tech podcast Dr. Sapna Cha hawk or Sapna

Stephanie Warner 3:37
it’s nice to have you on thank you so much for coming today.

Dr. Sapna Shah-Haque 3:40
Thank you so much. It’s really a treat to be here. I’m really looking forward to this for a long time. So thank you. tennety

R Blank 3:47
Oh, no, thank you. We’ve been listening to your podcast and we’re really we’re really happy to finally have you on. I like to start interviews with with questions that sound really simplistic, but I think help set the context. So in this case, that would be what is burnout.

Dr. Sapna Shah-Haque 4:07
Sure. So it is a syndrome that is related to the work environment, it is not to single out the individual or the worker. So it is burnout syndrome, which would be you know, your personalised demoralised so that fatigue, that won’t go away with plenty of sleep, that lack of job fulfilment, that depersonalization kind of you start to separate from yourself, and almost like putting up these barriers, which I can understand but it gets to a point where there is a complete disconnect, and then you just don’t see the value or the effectiveness in your work. So it was really well defined, and even well researched by Dr. Mann Slack. So it is a syndrome of the all these things can all these can manifest in individuals in certain ways. And it is no. And in no way, is it by the fault of the worker. We know that healthcare workers, physicians specifically are some of the most resilient. So it’s not to shame the worker. But that’s what burnout is.

R Blank 5:29
And is it actually raises the question for me, is it actually an established defined medical condition? Or is it just a phenomenon that has been documented?

Dr. Sapna Shah-Haque 5:40
So it is in the World Health where it is defined by the World Health Organisation? Who I do not I personally have not used that diagnosis and diagnosing any of my patients. I’m not necessarily familiar if it is a DSM five, you know, codable diagnosis, but I do see it being something that we could definitely see in a clinical exam room. I just don’t know how I would code that, you know, coded, probably stressors other? Or another term that would that would be used as to not to put it on the patient’s

R Blank 6:20
Sure. And yeah, that raises another interesting question. And these were all spontaneous. So I apologise if I’m, if I’m going off track. But based on the description you had, is it even something you would be able to see in the exam room? Or only kind of hear from an interview with the subject?

Dr. Sapna Shah-Haque 6:41
To that? That’s a great question. And you will? That’s a great question. And that’s the reason why I dedicated you know, it’s passionate of why. And that’s what I do in my free time, is because, you know, I don’t think that we have the language when we’re going through it. And I think it’s only by really realising what it is. It’s complex. And, you know, some of the physicians I’ve talked to, said, You know, it took me years to really put a label on what I was feeling. So it’s not that easy to diagnose. Could it be diagnosed in the exam room? I think it could be provided that there are candid conversations on multiple times. So I don’t think it’s going to be something that is diagnosed in just one visit. I mean, it takes a lot of introspective work, and then translating that into what you’re feeling, etc.

Stephanie Warner 7:48
Yeah, that is that’s, that’s really interesting. Can you tell us a little bit more about your personal experience with with burnout? And what led you to research and focus on this topic?

Dr. Sapna Shah-Haque 8:00
Sure. So the first time we went through burnout was in 2016. You know, I love medicine. It’s, it’s a love hate relationship at times, because I love what I do. You know, the system in which in which we work is very counterintuitive. You know, that’s not the reason why physicians go into medical school. It’s not the reason why nurses go into nursing. It’s changed in the last decade, even the last five years. So if we look at that, and if we actually look at the fact that yeah, I love medicine. But in 2016, what happened was I was doing it all, I was doing inpatient outpatient consults. And I was working to the point of, even on my weekends off on vacation, I was getting paged, and then compile that with a family incident where that needed my attention. It was just really over overwhelming. I wasn’t sleeping, I was worried about missing a page. Now, just that that nervous system was constantly fired up. So that was when I had to take a step back. My mom actually had a major stroke that left her unable to be by herself. Now very independent person, I just retired 10 months prior. So I needed to change my priorities. So when I took a job that did not require any inpatients, no evenings, no weekends, and that was that was great. And so I started having, having multiple people telling me how to do my job that were not physicians. They were starting to come into a lane that was not theirs. It was above their scope of any type of practice. I’m going to come to compound that. My best friend from medical school in residency, who was also a physician, died by suicide. in her office and it is summer of 2019. Oh, geez. And, you know, when she outlined why he did not seek medical help, it was because she was concerned about professional repercussions. And what does that mean? So physicians, Kansas is actually one of 13 states now where the questions on the board of healing arts when we, when we as physicians go to renew our licence every year, we have a list of questions we answer. And one of those one used to be about three questions and it was Do you have depression? Do you have anxiety? Do you have substance abuse problems? And if you check the box, yes, there’s concern about okay, what is the board appealing are going to do? Am I going to be investigated is my licence is going to be suspended? Then what’s gonna happen to my livelihood, what’s gonna happen to my half a million dollar of medical school loans that I’m still paying off, I’ll probably pay off till I am good six feet underground. So there’s this real concern. And there’s this kind of mystical shadow, we really don’t know what’s going to happen. So that has really pushed physicians off from seeking actual help, which would include medications from their primary care physician, psychiatrist, even therapy. Physicians will go across state lines to seek therapy. They’ll pay cash, so it’s off the books. And you wonder why. So it’s not on their record? Exactly. Because of that effect. Yeah. Heaven forbid, we should be humans. So the fact that a letter she left said that, it hits you to your core, and you think, what in the world am I doing? And why am I getting up every day to go practice medicine when this is a possible outcome?

R Blank 12:06
Yeah, so that that, and I’m sorry to hear about all those, all of what you just recounted sort of touched on the next couple of questions that that I wanted to ask. So I’ll just move on to ask. Sure. I had heard well, do you think that this situation that you describe has been exacerbated by the pandemic? And if so, is it for all healthcare providers, or more frontline workers? Because I recall watching stories, a lot of stories in 2020 and 2021, about doctors and nurses just getting I mean, they use the term burnt out and leaving the profession, is that something that that was exacerbated by the pandemic? And if so, you know, what were the factors there?

Dr. Sapna Shah-Haque 13:01
Sure. So I do believe that it was exacerbated by the pandemic. But it also brought to light that, you know, 300 to 400 physicians a year take their die by suicide every year here in the United States. Nurses leave their jobs leave their jobs, they don’t come back, or they don’t show up for their shift because of suicide. I think it was exacerbated by the pandemic, because we had something we were not really aware of. So we’re fighting an invisible enemy, that yes does exist. And we, our health care system was stretched to the max, it showed how broken it is. Nobody should have to die alone. And when you have to put a phone in a baggie, so that way, somebody can hear their loved one, say goodbye to them without anybody at bedside, multiple times a day, and not have any way to purge that or get rid of that, you know, we carry that energy with us. Or even just to process it. There’s no time because you’re going back day after day after day for who knows how long. That would drive anybody to the point of I would say just hopelessness, helpless. Yeah,

R Blank 14:23
so you’ve just touched on this and then I heard it in at the time of this recording. What is your most recent episode on the worthy physician podcast? I did not realise that there is an epidemic of physician suicides. And that’s one of the topics your guests was covering on this most recent episode. For how long has this been known to be a

Dr. Sapna Shah-Haque 14:53
a problem? Physician suicide? Yes. At least Just Gosh. For a long time, I wish I could give you a better qualification, or quantification actually, yeah. But you know, it’s there’s even been editorials written 100 years ago about the stress.

Stephanie Warner 15:23
Yeah, I feel like it actually starts in medical school from, I used to work adjacent to Harvard Medical School, and in in a research lab, and I was very young at the time, and I recall being, I had to go to the Harvard Medical Library, and somebody had just taken their own life in the bathroom. And finding out that that was something that was a regular was common, it was commonplace. And I really appreciate your talking about this, because I feel like it does, like the profession itself, takes a lot of takes on a lot of our stress and our pain. And it’s not something we talk about. And I think we kind of started talking about it a little bit during the pandemic, but I don’t think we’ve, you know, really given doctors and nurses and any frontline workers, the respect and the care, and the emotional space that they deserve. And I appreciate very much that you’re that you’re doing that. So my question is, what do you think medical institutions can do better to support physicians and help prevent burnout? And then on the other side, what can we do as citizens to make it to take the time to think about you all, as humans who are taking on so much of our pain? What can we do to support that as?

Dr. Sapna Shah-Haque 16:52
Well? That’s a great question. You know, I would say that, as far as the solutions really will need to come from the powers that be that are not in not in the exam room that really drive the processes. So that’s going to be government, and the lobbyists, Big Pharma, it’s and the insurance companies. But I would say that for institutions have an actual wellness officer or wellness committee. And when I say that, I don’t mean giving us more online classes to do or training, I’m actually talking about when we when you ask a physician or a nurse, what is a solution when you need? We’re pretty straightforward. And you know, we think very quickly on our feet, we’re problem solvers. So if you’re going to ask us for a solution, better darn well do it with the intent of trying to make those things happen within reason. Because we’re not going to give you for the most part, I don’t think that we’re going to give you ridiculous answers. Number two, don’t dictate what we need to do. And forget about patient satisfaction scores. Now I know that reimbursement is tied to that. And that’s another discussion, because this is not fast food, and it’s not a hotel. But if you also want to look at better outcomes, look at employee retention and satisfaction, because we know that if you can, if somebody feels valued, and not just blowing smoke, but if somebody actually feels valued, we’re gonna go above and beyond when there is a culture of well being within the organisation, putting people first and making them actually feel like they matter and not just giving them lip service. That’s a solution right there.

R Blank 19:11
So I have a question on this is the healthier tech podcast after all, and among the Advent advances or changes we’ve seen in the past few years, is a much greater shift to telehealth. And I’m wondering, and the answer might be there’s none. But has there been an impact? From telehealth the incidence of burnout has it made it worse has it made it better or it has is it really no difference?

Dr. Sapna Shah-Haque 19:45
For me, it’s actually lighten the load a little bit. When I can utilise telehealth, I’d like to, so it’s gonna be like, Okay, how are you doing on your medication? We changed maybe three weeks ago. How are you doing with oth, er, let’s go for your labs, let’s go over an image that we need to go over, but I don’t think you need to be brought into the office. So I do use it for certain things as follow up. I’m an internist. So a lot of things are hands on. So I think it’s going to be on which specialty and how it’s utilised. I’ve for one, I’m actually very grateful for it, because it helps to, you know, to bridge the gaps where maybe transportation is an issue where I live in Kansas, so the weather’s bipolar, you know, so I think it helps to.

R Blank 20:39
So, do you do you get to, in your case, specifically, does it enable you to do some work from home?

Dr. Sapna Shah-Haque 20:48
When I have been under the weather, and I know that I could still see patients virtually, but I probably shouldn’t come in because I have an upper respiratory infection that is communicable. Yes, I will totally. It’s a win win. It’s good hybrid. I personally love the in person and laying on the pans, because that’s why I chose internal medicine. But it’s added a lot of flexibility that, you know, I didn’t have three years ago, four years ago.

R Blank 21:18
That’s nice. So what advice would you offer to medical students today as a seventh? He was just saying, you know, she said, I mean, neither of us are doctors. But from her observation, a lot of this starts to happen in medical school. And to me, that’s not a surprise given I know people have gone through medical school and it’s incredibly hard. And then residency is for my understanding, even more soul destroying in terms of its demands that it puts on people. For sure, yeah. So what advice would you offer to medical students and residents who might be experiencing burnout, or suspect they’re trending in that direction, to try to maintain their well being while successfully pursuing these careers that they’ve they’ve spent a lot of money kind of developing?

Dr. Sapna Shah-Haque 22:11
Sure. So what I tell my medical students, and with the residents I’ve worked, you are replaceable at work, you are not replaceable at home. And I’m not saying scrap everything. But you know, if we have to put our priorities in perspective, if you want to make AOA alpha, omega alpha, which is a very prestigious Honour Society, right, like top 25% of your class. Even if you don’t make it at the end of the, you know, 10 years unless you do academic medicine. I’ve never had that come up in conversation. With all the medical conferences I’ve been to, nobody really has said, hey, guess what I was AOA, when I graduated medical school. It’s just like, okay, that’s the person that no deductible the person that paid to high school, right? So is it really worth your mental health? And if the answer is no, which and that it should not, your mental health should not be something that you sacrifice. Don’t do it?

R Blank 23:19
Yeah, I don’t recall ever having been asked my GPA, and I’m obviously not a doctor. But whenever I went for a job, both after college, and after grad school, no one ever asked me my GPA, which would be my equivalent, my my mind non medical equivalent to that.

Dr. Sapna Shah-Haque 23:37
Right? And what people want to know is, are you sort of certified in your specialty, and you are board certified? You know, what are your outcomes with certain procedures or what have you? And that’s what matters? You know, it’s not, it’s not the patient satisfaction boards on Google. Because if somebody won something, but it’s not within the standard of care, and they can go on Google and, you know, just completely trash you. But getting back to your question, know your priorities, don’t lose yourself, don’t lose your identity to fit in. I mean, I understand, you need to kind of go with the flow and jump through the hoops to get to where you want to be, I get that. But just keep in mind that don’t drink the Kool Aid, and completely lose yourself. Because, you know, 20 years later, you’re going to be saying what happened? Yeah, definitely.

Stephanie Warner 24:27
And so I wonder if another perhaps prescription would involve like, I don’t know, connecting with others. And maybe, like, I don’t know, if there are groups that doctors have that you know, where you can come together and discuss, you know, this stuff that’s going on, what does connection play a part a role in? helping alleviate the burnout

Dr. Sapna Shah-Haque 24:54
definitely is a factor to combat right. So we as humans are Social. And then we have that phenomenon of, you know, tribe. So we’re social creatures, we need to have that tribe. So yeah, if you can get past the personalities of, okay, I’m never going to admit that I have a fault or I have a problem because I don’t want to be seen as weak. Like, that’s how it was interpreted in the like, that is how it is interpreted in the medical culture. So let’s try to rewrite that script. I guarantee you medical school is hard. Most of the people are struggling, like everybody that there is insanely smart. Everybody’s struggling at some point. There are some, there are some tools and resources that I share with my medical students and residents. And that would be physicians anonymous. Physicians anonymous.org. And it is It was started by Dr. Corrigan. And that is a pseudonym. But a physician from the UK has also partnered with his counterpart here in the US. And they do have zoom meetings more than once a week. And it is completely anonymous. They don’t care about titles, you can choose a pseudonym, you don’t have to have your screen on your camera on. But it is a way that you can have a way to purge your feelings and create that community. Another one is Dr. Amy King, she’s a She’s a psychologist, physician’s coach support, that’s more for residents and physicians, but medical students are, are welcomed into physicians anonymous.

R Blank 26:45
So that’s, that’s a great example. And thank you, well, we’ll be sure to put that in the show notes. That’s a great example of technology, facilitating away. Because it’s I know, there’s these groups that say they’re anonymous, but you still have to show up and then people see you. So that’s a great way to use technology to actually help address this issue. Earlier, you talked about how your pager was contributing. Maybe I’m putting your words into your mouth, but your anxiety or your stress level, because you were you were worried about missing a page. I’m wondering about ways in which you feel that technology and we also talked about a telehealth relieving some of or creating some additional flexibility with you. I’m wondering if you have a couple of other thoughts on ways that technology might be either or both exacerbating or remediating this issue of burnout amongst physicians.

Dr. Sapna Shah-Haque 27:45
Sure, so you know, the fact that the pager I mean, really,

R Blank 27:52
is that still a thing, by the way for doctors pagers,

Dr. Sapna Shah-Haque 27:55
maybe in some spots we don’t get I’m in rural Kansas, so we don’t get great service out here. So they were kind of scrapped. So you know, that’s that’s one good thing about not having a pager. talkies. Yeah, now I wanted to keep track of like, these two devices, just my smartphone. But we do have, you know, we do have ways of getting a hold of physicians and communicating. And I don’t have a problem with it. You know, we use vaults where I work and it’s great. It’s a it’s a secure messaging, and it’s HIPAA compliant. And now another one that I have used is called culturing. And it is It was developed by cardiologists and cardiothoracic surgeon. And it’s a great way you have to have an MPI, but it’s a great way and it’s free, and it’s HIPAA compliant. And it’s a way for like doctors across state lines, you know, to communicate if they have a common patient, or if they want to get official consult. So I think that it has definitely helped, I think, and like anything, if that privilege is abused by somebody that has access to it. Of course, it’s going to drive anybody nuts, but that’s where you draw boundaries. And you say, No, I’m not going to tolerate that.

R Blank 29:19
Are doctors allowed to go offline? Or do they always have to be reachable?

Dr. Sapna Shah-Haque 29:27
I can speak for myself. Okay. I have wonderful colleagues that we take rotations of call. Okay, we can totally do off. And yeah, I can’t imagine practising medicine that way. Because I don’t think anybody can go offline. I think even the Pope is allowed to go on vacation or

R Blank 29:48
Dr. House only went offline when he was on a drug binge. And otherwise, he was always

Stephanie Warner 29:56
it seems to me like you know, like, there should Be systems in place for downtime. You know, you, you guys are in charge of, of, of our health, you know?

R Blank 30:09
No, I agree. It’s just I also don’t know, because if like, if you’re treating a patient and that patient has a real emergency, like is the expectation that you’re available? Just in case like you’re the only one who knows what’s going on with that, but anyway, it was I because I don’t know, I don’t know what the policies are. So. But yes, I agree with your Stephanie. Oh, yeah. No gone.

Dr. Sapna Shah-Haque 30:31
So in that specific case, right. That specific case, let’s say, I’m not on call that weekend. But if that if the covering doctor has a question, oh, my gosh, I mean, I will totally fill that doctor in. Okay, so I was going off for a conference in Los Angeles. No, but they know how to get a hold of me if there’s an emergency, but it’s not gonna be the patient. It’s gonna be the covering physician.

Stephanie Warner 30:57
Right. Thank you. So you’re still on you are still available, though. That’s that’s, that’s not that. Like that’s kind of downtime. That’s not downtime. That’s yeah. I’m gonna I’m gonna go into the forest now. But I it’s it’s illuminating. It’s illuminating.

Dr. Sapna Shah-Haque 31:12
To the police do go off. When I do, I’ll go off grid. I leave like, Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. New Mexico is one of my favourite places to go disconnect.

R Blank 31:26
That’s good. Yeah. How often? How much of the time do you do something like that? Or do you get the opportunity to do something like that?

Dr. Sapna Shah-Haque 31:34
I do. And now that we’re post pandemic, hopefully it’s been resumed to every three months.

R Blank 31:41
Okay. That’s good. That’s the hope. Yeah.

Dr. Sapna Shah-Haque 31:45
Yeah. I mean, with the young kids, you kind of got to look at that. And then the school year and all that. But yeah, let

R Blank 31:51
us let us know who we got. Who we got to write a letter to to support that for you. And we’ll we’ll do that. So your podcast? Yeah. Yeah. So your podcast is the worthy physician podcast. And it’s a great Listen, that I encourage all of our land will have links to it in the show notes. What is your goal? What is the impact that you hope to have through your podcast and related work in the area?

Dr. Sapna Shah-Haque 32:23
Sure, yeah. Thanks for the question. You know, back when Dr. Becker took her own life, and it really opened up my eyes. I didn’t know what burnout or physician suicide. I didn’t really know what it was in the statistics. And so it came out of a way to grieve and to process. And so my goal is to normalise conversation of burnout, how we’re feeling and to let other physicians and healthcare workers know that they’re not alone. And hopefully, by having this discussion, we can normalise and hopefully reignite passion for medicine.

R Blank 33:03
Excellent. Well, that’s that’s a really worthy goal. And I agree that just talking about it as a great step i i It’s hard for me to have any optimism when it comes to issues around the American healthcare system. But I do agree that the work that you are doing is it’s an important step, just just normalising discussions around the issue. And open and heartfelt discussions, I think is, is going to be helpful. And so I really appreciate the work that you’re doing. It is a great podcast. Again, we’ll have the link to the worthy physician podcast in the show notes. I encourage all of our listeners to go check it out. As well. Sapna co authored, thriving after burnout, a compilation of real stories by female physicians. Beyond that Sapna, where is it that you would like our listeners to connect with you?

Dr. Sapna Shah-Haque 34:02
Sure, so if you would go over to the website has my socials on there and most active as far as socials either on Twitter or LinkedIn? Okay,

R Blank 34:15
and so that website is the worthy physician.com And we will also have that link in the show notes. Sapna this has been a really, from my perspective, a deep and meaningful and touching conversation. I really appreciate you taking the time out of your schedule to join us here on the healthier tech podcast. I hope you can submit to Medicare for reimbursement for this half hour. I don’t know what our code would be.

Stephanie Warner 34:46
We really appreciate the work that you’re doing. And you know, I think it’s it’s key and I hope our listeners really do take a minute to think about the doctors, the nurses in in their lives, and whether it’s you know, family or their own physicians, and think about their them as humans, and not these, you know, people that are here just for our health and to keep us healthy, I think I think our attitudes need to change. And we need to support you guys as

Dr. Sapna Shah-Haque 35:18
well. Stephanie, so to answer your question about, like, what patients can do, you know, that’s such a broad question, because I don’t want to paint everybody with the same paintbrush, I think everybody’s needs are different. Just know that. For the most part, we’re doing the best we can to meet patients needs within a broken system. Within an overcrowded system. Everything’s bottled Next, there is a weight, unfortunately. And it’s not that we don’t want to help patients. And actually, that’s one of the biggest drivers of burnout is because we have a system that is so overwhelmed right now that there’s a way to actually provide good care. reimbursement is down, we have to see more patients to meet overhead. And whether or not we agree with that, we need to keep doors open, everything runs on finances. And it’s not to say that we’re going to treat anybody with without insurance, or with insurance, any different, they’re the same. They’re a person have give us grace. Come back at the same time a day, please don’t call 567 times, please don’t take it out on our staff. That type of behaviour is not going to get anybody anywhere. Because you wouldn’t like it if I came at you or your physician came at you with that same attitude. So it goes both ways you want us to give you grace, give us grace, because we’re humans too. Don’t take it out on a staff. Don’t take it out on the nurse. And in my practice, I do not tolerate that. There are expectations of mutual respect. You want the please give it everybody deserves respect because we’re human beings. Yeah, what I what I

Stephanie Warner 37:18
hear is grace, which is just such a beautiful word. And so true compassion and empathy. I think it’s really easy to look at you guys like, well, you have, you have the medical degree, it’s your job to do this and not not look at you as humans,

R Blank 37:35
you’re also you’re also the face like that, that that the patient sees. Have a system that is not easy for the patient to navigate. And it is very tempting for both you and your support staff. And it’s very tempting for people who are undergoing a lot of stress themselves, in many cases, to just take out their their frustrations with the whole medical system, on the people that they’re actually seeing and whose phone numbers they have.

Stephanie Warner 38:05
Yeah, I’d say move the target. Take a deep breath, and recognise that the people that are here to support you and help you are here to support and help you and show them grace and love and compassion as well.

Dr. Sapna Shah-Haque 38:19
That’s that’s what I’m hearing. Yes, please. And, please, copying to those people that are in state and federal government that we vote to put there, make your voices heard through fote. And really look at those policies, you know, because Medicaid expansion is good to help those that are in a gap that more than likely are not their own costs. Medicare, quit cutting the benefits, you know, these are social programmes we all pay into. And when we have to use utilise them, they need to be there. And that’s sometimes that’s the only way people can access health care. So the system is overwhelming. It is hard to navigate out a physician. You know, have your voices be heard to those that are the elected officials that can actually change these policies for you to actually have the health care that you deserve as a patient, not a consumer. You go consume at a restaurant, you participate, you know, you’re patient. I’m a physician that wants to practice in a health care system. That does not make me have to feel like I’m pushing people in an out. That’s not why we go into medicine. There are other ways to make a living with less liability.

Stephanie Warner 39:56
Yeah, that actually brings up one follow up quite Question as a voting person as this individual that you’re speaking to, how do we look for those people? How do we know? How to how do we how do I know who to vote for? What is the topic? What is the key? Is there a key word?

R Blank 40:15
Well, she talked about Medicaid expansion and reduce a lot

Stephanie Warner 40:19
of people don’t talk about that. And I guess and thank you for that art. The, let me get a little little more clear. And at what level are we talking about to so there’s, you know, local,

Dr. Sapna Shah-Haque 40:31
then there’s state, state and Washington DC. Yeah, I’m an independent. So I don’t speak to either party, you got to really look at and I’m talking about health wise only, you know, what is important to your health? And then let that lead where you look, and I think that most most, most state governments would have your zone or your district and then said, right, Senate, or representative, and the same should be the should be for Washington, DC as well.

R Blank 41:07
Yeah. So when it comes to Medicaid expansion, I think legislatively that has largely happened at the federal level, and now it’s up to the states whether or not to accept it. And when it comes to treatment of Medicare benefits, that is a federal issue. So Stephanie, I don’t know if that’s the answer to your question that you were looking for. Yeah.

Stephanie Warner 41:26
Yeah, I think that’s helpful. I think that’s definitely because if you look at what’s happening in Arizona and Florida, and it’s like you guys need to know who to vote for, because this is something good was happening to you. Yeah, no, thank you for those for those for those answers. I appreciate that.

Announcer 41:44
Thank you so much for listening to this episode of the healthier tech podcast. Remember to check the show notes for all the links and resources mentioned in the show. Please like and subscribe to the healthier tech podcast on Apple, Spotify or your podcast platform of choice. Get your free quickstart guide to building a healthy relationship with technology and our latest information at healthier tech.co

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

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R Blank

R Blank

R Blank is the founder of Healthier Tech and the host of “The Healthier Tech Podcast”, available iTunes, Spotify and all major podcasting platforms.

R has a long background in technology. Previously, R ran a software engineering firm in Los Angeles, producing enterprise-level solutions for blue chip clients including Medtronic, Apple, NBC, Toyota, Disney, Microsoft, the NFL, Ford, IKEA and Mattel.

In the past, he served on the faculty at the University of Southern California Viterbi School of Engineering where he taught software engineering, as well as the University of California, Santa Cruz.

He has spoken at technology conferences around the world, including in the US, Canada, New Zealand and the Netherlands, and he is the co-author of “AdvancED Flex Development” from Apress.

He has an MBA from the UCLA Anderson School of Management and received his bachelor’s degree, with honors, from Columbia University. He has also studied at Cambridge University in the UK; the University of Salamanca in Spain; and the Institute of Foreign Languages in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia.

Connect with R on LinkedIn.

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