New Podcast Spotlights Good Doctors Doing Great Things

Added on Jan 23, 2019

Press Ganey Chief Medical Officer Dr. Thomas H. Lee will host a new podcast series, Good Doctors: Stories from the Heart of Health Care, which is set to debut in February.“She should be the most burned-out physician on the planet; instead, she is the least.” 

That description by a colleague of Dr. Merit Cudkowicz, an ALS expert at Boston’s Massachusetts General Hospital, stuck with me. In an era in which the stresses of delivering health care seem relentless and overwhelming, I ask myself: What sustains physicians like Merit, who, at age 55, has had two decades of intense relationships with patients with an incurable condition? What can be learned from patterns in the personal and professional lives of Merit and doctors like her that might help others enjoy their lives more?

To explore these questions, I have begun interviewing physicians who epitomize resilience. I want to understand how these physicians became the way they are. Why did they choose to do what they chose to do? How did they move beyond looking for great work to do, and instead figure out how to find greatness in the work they are doing? Beginning next month, the interviews will be released as a podcast series titled Good Doctors: Stories from the Heart of Health Care.

My interview subjects are mid-career physicians—“real” doctors whose sense of self is based on their care for patients and whose sense of excellence challenges and fulfills them. I think you will find that their stories have staying power. You will find, as I do, that you think about them often. By knitting these stories together, I hope to provide a glimpse into what makes these doctors tick—not just what they are doing, but how they see themselves. What motivates them to seek solutions to problems above and beyond what they need to do to get through the day, and how do they sustain that motivation?

You will hear from Dr. Emily Sedgwick, the breast radiologist who led the redesign of breast cancer screening processes to reduce patient fear; Dr. Laura Monson, the pediatric craniofacial surgeon who started a camp for children with cleft palate to improve their long-term social outcomes; Dr. Mike Englesbe, the liver transplant surgeon who became obsessed with the idea of changing opioid prescribing practices after harvesting organs from three young women in one weekend who had died from opioid overdoses; and other good doctors from around the country who are doing great things and whose empathy for their patients sustains and broadens their concept of excellent care.

Through this series, we can listen to these stories together, admire the physicians who honor their profession and consider what we can learn from their work. And if you know of other remarkable physicians who might enrich our understanding of what it means to be a “good doctor” in our era, my colleagues and I at Press Ganey would love to hear from you.