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Dawn Clark, MD, shares physician perspective on burnout with AMA


Joining an American Medical Association discussion, Dawn Clark, MD, ob-gyn and chief wellness officer for the Southern California Permanente Medical Group, said bureaucratic tasks can add immeasurably to physician stress and burnout.

Headshot of Dawn Clark, MD
Dawn Clark, MD

“It’s very difficult for not just doctors — but really most health care professionals — because we came into this profession to heal people, not to fill out forms, get preauthorization, or code,” Dr. Clark said. “We’re very lucky in Kaiser Permanente that we don’t have to deal with preauthorization [due to our integrated, prepaid model], and so many other groups do.”

The AMA’s What Doctors Wish Patients Knew series gives physicians a platform to share what they want patients to understand about health care, especially throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. In this installment, “What doctors wish patients knew about physician burnout,” Dr. Clark and 2 other AMA members discussed steps that patients can take to make things go more smoothly during an unprecedented time of physician stress.

“Some of my best days in clinic are when the patient stopped for a moment and asked how the health care team is doing,” Dr. Clark said. “They obviously have health care issues if they’re in the office seeing me, and for them to stop for a moment and ask how my team’s doing, that is just unbelievable.”

Note: To read the entire discussion, visit the AMA website.

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