Research done by Vanderbilt University Medical Center showed that 9% of physicians accounted for 50% of unsolicited patient complaints — and over 50% of malpractice dollars paid out over the study period.
Do you have a disruptive physician on your staff? Someone who intimidates, bullies or demeans co-workers and patients, has verbal outbursts, throws items at others or makes physical threats? A physician who engages in inappropriate sexual behavior or retaliates against those who make complaints?
Physicians exhibiting disruptive behavior can be extremely costly in terms of lost time, productivity and staff morale. Unchecked, they potentially threaten the safety of your patients and staff, diminish the reputation of your institution — and increase your exposure to malpractice suits.
It’s often hard to know what to do and how to do it — particularly in the early stages when an inappropriate behavior is noticed but not deemed critical. Yet the need for early and effective intervention has never been greater.
We’re behavioral experts you can consult whenever you have a physician who may be underperforming, creating difficult work situations or putting patients at risk. We’ll assign a case manager to assist you in identifying specific concerns related to the physician's behavior, determining the appropriate level of response, and in developing a plan to approach the physician with your concerns.
Our Physician Intervention Services offer a research-based, step-by-step approach to confronting disruptive behaviors and performance issues.
The rate of suicide among physicians is 40% higher for male physicians and 227% higher for female physicians than among the general population.
When a physician-related issue is referred to us, our first step is to conduct an objective, data-driven analysis of the physician’s behavior. As part of this analysis, we may also interview staff members and other observers to determine baseline behavior or performance patterns and identify the core reason for the disruptive behavior or performance issue.
Research shows that when physicians exhibit disruptive behaviors, or are having performance issues, there may be one or more factors in play that affect doctors to a greater extent than the general population. Those factors include:
In working with physicians and healthcare organizations, we strive to:
Our goal is to help you address problems at the earliest possible stage. We tailor our services to meet the needs of the individual and the organization. Our approach is positive and compassionate rather than punitive — with an emphasis on support and accountability.
We look at your immediate needs, internal resources and preferences before developing a strategy. For example:
Based on more than 30 years of working with medical professionals, and on research and studies by Vanderbilt Medical Center and others, we offer four escalating levels of intervention services:
Recommended for single incidents where there are no legal or patient safety issues associated with the unprofessional behavior exhibited.
VITAL WorkLife staff will coach and provide support to a peer or staff member before and after an informal conversation with the troubled physician.
The expectation is that the physician will self-correct — although VITAL WorkLife staff can be made available as a resource.
Used in situations where disruptive behavior recurs. While still largely informal, the Awareness Intervention includes a confidential written directive from the organization.
The physician receives a document outlining the organization’s expectations for change and a plan for monitoring improvement.
VITAL WorkLife staff may provide coaching to management, meet one-on-one with the physician, help draft a letter or some combination of those activities.
Used when disruptive behavior continues or escalates, or a single serious incident occurs, the Authority Intervention begins with a physician interview performed by a multidisciplinary team of medical, mental and behavioral health providers.
After conducting the interview and identifying the factors that may underlie or contribute to the physician's disruptive behavior at work, we:
All Authority Interventions include a confidential written directive, setting forth expected actions and improvements with potential consequences for noncompliance.
Used when an escalation or continuation of previous patterns of behavior occurs, or because of a single incident with serious implications surrounding patient and staff safety and quality, the Disciplinary Intervention typically involves:
The Disciplinary Intervention may also include reporting to legal or licensure entities and restriction or termination of privileges.
VITAL WorkLife provides support for every stage and type of intervention. Our end-to-end solution includes coaching and support, written documentation and performance plans, as well as short- and long-term monitoring and follow up. When we make referrals to specialized service providers, we provide coordination and oversight to ensure that progress is being made