Business Podcast Post

Combating Physician Burnout with Eric Grosse

George Grombacher October 20, 2022

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Combating Physician Burnout with Eric Grosse

LifeBlood: We talked about combating physician burnout, how to get in front of the impending doctor shortage, why so much time is spent on administrative tasks, and what to do about it, with Eric Grosse, President of Suki. 

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You can learn more about Eric at Suki.AI, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.

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Our Guests

George Grombacher


Eric Grosse

Episode Transcript

Unknown Speaker 0:15
what’s up? This is George G. And the time is right. welcome today’s guest strong APOL for Eric grossa. Eric, are you ready to do this? Absolutely. All right, let’s go. Eric is the president of Sookie, they’re an organization combating the epidemic of health care, staff burnout. Eric, tell us a little bit about your personal lives more about your work, why you do what you do? Well, thanks, George. Well, I grew up in New England, but I’ve been in the west coast in San Francisco for now over 25 years. And

Unknown Speaker 0:48
personally, I’m married with three teenage kids, which definitely, when combined with my work keeps me very, very busy and professionally, what I love doing is building companies that really have an impact in ways that I can personally relate to. And that I also believe is really important. And I’m really, really passionate about delivering better health care, which is just a massive part of the US economy, it’s almost 20% of GDP, if you can believe it, it’s over $4 trillion. So when we do a better job and health care, I think will have a really, really big impact in in the overall US economy. To what 8% of the US economy is healthcare. I guess that is scary. But yeah, yeah. And when you think about how, how large our economy is, and the fact that one out of every $5 spent is on health care, that’s a big opportunity for improvement, a big sandbox, if you will, yeah. Has it always been roughly 20 years that number, exploding? Well, it’s, it’s, it’s crept up, and it’s, it’s now as I mentioned, over almost 20%. But it hasn’t always started there. But that’s where he fortunately, or unfortunately, where it’s trending. Yeah, I appreciate that. And I’m sure that there’s lots of good things to go along with that. But probably a lot of bad things that are going along with that too. And

Unknown Speaker 2:14
you would shared with me in advance of our of our time today that, that this healthcare, staff burnout, and it’s a horrible problem, if you would tell us a little bit about that. Sure, and this was, this was an issue that’s becoming worse and worse, even before COVID hit, which is just doctors feeling increasingly burnt out. And this isn’t something that happens occasionally, about half of doctors are telling us that burnout is a really, really significant issue. And that is a real real, a real real real problem. And and what it’s doing, amongst other things is, is

Unknown Speaker 2:56
it’s making it really, really difficult for doctors to really engage, they’re feeling burnt out, massively stressed out. And it’s to the point where almost 80% of physicians don’t remain don’t recommend being doctors to their own kids.

Unknown Speaker 3:15
I always thought of being a physician is a noble profession, and something that oftentimes gets passed down from generation to generation that is definitely not occurring as much anymore. And that’s having really, really challenging and potentially burdensome impacts on the overall sort of healthcare environment. Because what a lot of a lot of agencies are now predicting is a doctor shortage. So over the next 10 years, there’s going to be a shortage of anywhere from 50 to over 100,000 doctors. So when it’s as big a part of the economy as it is in the United States, you know, that’s a really, really big problem that we’re trying to solve it Sookie. No doubt about it burned out, that’s a term that we casually throw around. What does that really mean? Well, one way to think about it, if you put your if you put yourself in the shoes of a doctor now, we all see how busy they are during the day. But one pretty crazy to cystic George is that physicians now spend two hours of administrative work on top of every hour they spend with patients. So that is basically a recipe for burnout when you’re essentially doing two jobs as a doctor that you know, the job you were trained for, which is taking care of patients. And then you know the quote unquote night shift, where you’re basically handing all the documentation requirements that your healthcare system is is asking of you to basically manage all those patients that you’re seeing from an administration standpoint. So you take, you know, two hours of admin work on top of what you’re doing during the day. And that’s a recipe for feeling pretty stretched. Yeah, I don’t think that if you just applied that to any field

Unknown Speaker 5:00
In the field of, of baking, for every hour of baking, you have to do two hours of compliance work could be like, you know, baking sucks. Now I used to really like making cakes. But now I’m not interested in doing that anymore. Yeah, and we think about

Unknown Speaker 5:17
medical school residencies, all the training that doctors spend on on on to become physicians and to take care of patients. There’s not that type of training on all the administrative side of things. So it’s not what doctors are trained to do, it’s not what they want to do. So what we want to do is to massively reduce that administrative burden, which in turn, will make doctors a lot less stressed out, which means they will be a lot burned out, which a lot less burned out, and much more productive and much happier with their patients and with what they’re doing. Yeah, it seems that,

Unknown Speaker 5:52
again, every single one of us if we can remove the stuff that we don’t really enjoy doing, and that we hate doing specific, certain way. And we can focus all of our time and our energy on the parts of our job and our lives that we do like, then that is a recipe for success versus the one that we’re on the path that we’re on, which is disaster, a shortage of 50 100,000 doctors. That is, that’s that’s crazy. How many doctors are there are there in the United States now?

Unknown Speaker 6:23
Oh, I probably have to get you that sets. I don’t know, offhand. You know, I just know that, you know, 50. If you just look at the number on the outside 50 100,000 doctors, you know, that is a pretty significant shortfall. And what that does is it’s going to make this burnout situation unless we fix it even worse. Right? So imagine, imagine having this kind of documentation burden and having a lot fewer doctors to do it. So the whole system is going to become even more stretched. So it’s a

Unknown Speaker 6:52
it’s definitely, it’s definitely an epidemic. And I don’t use that word lightly, especially in the environment that we’re in currently. Yeah, I appreciate that. So

Unknown Speaker 7:03
the remedy, it’s so so what the SU could do. Sure, well, think of Suki as basically like a voice enabled mobile first type of technology that really streamlines how doctors interact with technology at work. Think of Sookie is like kind of an Alexa or Siri for doctors. So patient narratives, documentation, scheduling, all the administrative stuff that we’re talking about, is so much easier when doctors can use their voice instead of having to always type into a keyboard. So it’s a huge productivity helper with Sookie doctors complete

Unknown Speaker 7:41
notes and other tasks over 70% faster. And because Suki is mobile, they can handle those administrative responsibilities from everywhere or from anywhere, excuse me, instead of always being chained or tethered to a to a computer. So that’s a pretty significant advantage, you know, they can they can handle their administrative needs while walking down a hallway to their next to the next appointment. Or they can do it while walking their dog or doing their dishes or watching their kids soccer game or, or

Unknown Speaker 8:11
you know, away from work as well. So it really frees up not only

Unknown Speaker 8:16
helps them get everything done quicker, but it also allows them to do it in a much more flexible location than what they’re typically used to doing. Yeah, that’s really makes sense. What

Unknown Speaker 8:27
I’m just what what is the documentation? What are the different kinds of documentation that these physicians are having to make? Sure, well, we work with over 100 healthcare systems that were like two or three dozen specialties. So it really depends on what type of doctor you are, if you’re new a cardiologist or a surgeon, that’s very different than from being a general practitioner.

Unknown Speaker 8:51
And but each each each patient encounter has documentation needs, that needs to be coded and handled a certain way, in order for

Unknown Speaker 9:02
doctors to complete their compliance obligations, as well as what insurance companies asked for them to in terms of documentation in order to handle payment. So this is all the work then there’s also obviously the scheduling piece of this too, which can be pretty, pretty significant. We all see firsthand how how busy doctors are. So this type of

Unknown Speaker 9:26
patient narratives and documentation and scheduling is all a big part of why doctors are now spending, you know, two hours for every two hours of documentation for every one hour of patient encounters. So that’s the that’s the part that we’re attacking and we want to make much more efficient, using Suki and using voice and using mobile. Yeah. Just the patient care part the whole health care, part of medicine of making sure that I just saw patient John and you know we he’s having this this issue and

Unknown Speaker 10:00
So we talked about doing this and talked about this prescription, and we’re going to see him again in three months. That alone is certainly time consuming, but then you mix in all the other important administrative compliance items that are required by law, probably, and then are necessary to make sure that all the money is going where it’s supposed to. It’s a lot. Yeah, so just imagine what you were just saying right there, how quickly you just said it. Now imagine having to type it having to think it, making sure it’s in the right spot. Right, that’s how the productivity can just be so frustrating for for physicians, when they’re when their inner inputting this into their, into their healthcare systems, voice is so much easier. And we’re seeing that in the consumer space, too. I mean, think about how, you know, Siri, or Alexa, is increasingly how just ordinary people or regular people are just interacting with technology. So we want to bring that convenience, to doctors. And that’s really what we’re about. And how is it being received? Oh, doctors love it, you know, they, and it’s not surprising, because they can use their voice to instead of, instead of having to be tethered to a keyboard, and they can do it so much more flexibly, and and anywhere they want instead of having to do it in their office at home or or being stuck at work. So it really is a platform that helps them immensely. And that’s the kind of feedback that we’re getting from from the physicians that are that are working with us. And the insurance companies and the other parties. Well, the insurance companies in the health care system is also really, really like it’s because all the documentation, because we make it so much easier, it’s also being done that much more accurately. So in terms of in terms of accuracy of documentation, and coding, that’s also much better as well. So the insurance companies love it, because it’s accurate, as well as, as well as the healthcare administrators that oversee the hospitals and care facilities where the doctors work. So this is really a situation where everybody’s happier, and everyone wins, when this type of work can be done more efficiently, and also more accurately. There’s benefits across the whole ecosystem.

Unknown Speaker 12:14
And I imagine you’ve probably tried or have quantified what those benefits really are, from a tiny time saving perspective, a mental health perspective, longevity and a sustainability perspective. We want our doctors to be happy and healthy and to be working as opposed to retiring and no new doctors coming in. You said it well. And you know, as I mentioned before, you know, at least what we’re seeing is the productivity improvements, force doctors that usuki are really, really significant. I mean, they’re completing their notes, their patient narratives,

Unknown Speaker 12:49
all their administrative tasks, over 70% faster than what they were doing before. Just think about that. That’s a huge productivity improvement. And remember, this is basically taking, reducing that burden that the doctors don’t want to do. So what does that mean? What that means is doctors can spend more time with individual patients and also see more patients. So the ripple effect of that is scheduling is a lot easier. I’m sure all of us, yourself included, have been frustrated about how long it can sometimes take to make an even an appointment to see a doctor. So this will help with that as well. So again, I think it’s one of those, one of those situations that when this type of burden is is is addressed and relieved for doctors, patients, health care systems ensures everybody benefits. And especially the doctor, which is what we’re about, we’re about helping the doctor first and foremost, one of those win wins where it almost sells itself, but almost is probably the operative term. Eric, what is the pushback that you get?

Unknown Speaker 13:52
Well, you know, it’s it’s the pushback when people actually use the platform really isn’t there really isn’t any our net promoter scores are, are, are extremely, really high. And over 60 And people really, really doctors really, really like it. In terms of pushback. Yeah, I think there’s always

Unknown Speaker 14:14
the reality of of learning something new, right, which is, which is especially when you’re stretched to the limit,

Unknown Speaker 14:22
you know, doctors sometimes need to be reminded that, you know, just doing the thing, doing doing things the way they’ve been doing it, making a small investment to massively improve.

Unknown Speaker 14:35
How they do things is, is is a step worth taking, but you have to take that first step, and

Unknown Speaker 14:42
sometimes it takes a little convincing to do that, but once people try it, that’s when they’re hooked. Yeah, that makes sense. And I imagine anytime a hospital system is making the decision about a new software or decision it’s never an easy one because it does require time and implementation.

Unknown Speaker 15:00
and learning and everything else that goes along with that. So sure You said it well I mean healthcare is famous for having what’s called really long sales cycles so and the reason why you know sales cycles are long is that you need a lot of people in the room, you know, to to approve a platform like Sookie immediately you need the doctors and the doctor representatives like the Chief Medical Officer endorsing it you need

Unknown Speaker 15:27
you need the the finance team to confirm that the productivity improvements really are significant. There’s the IT folks that need to

Unknown Speaker 15:37
approve it as well, from a from a from a security and compliance standpoint. So there’s a lot of heads in the room and you know that that means time but again once once that once that’s complete, the benefits really are really are massive. Yeah, makes sense. Love it. Well, thank you so much for coming on. Where can people learn more about you? And how can they engage with Sookie? Sure, just go to To learn all there is to know about about Sookie, how to

Unknown Speaker 16:08
contact one of our representatives and learn more and get started. I highly recommend you do that. Excellent. If you enjoyed this as much as I did show Eric your appreciation and share today’s show with a friend who also appreciates good ideas. You have a physician in your life or a hospital administrator, somebody who’s working in health care. Certainly pass this along to them as well go to Sookie as UK And check out everything we’ve been talking about and see if it’s a good fit for you and your organization. Thanks again, Eric. Thank you so much, George. I really appreciate you having me. And until next time remember, do your part by doing your best

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