As with the beginning of each new year, the word "improved" gets bandied about: improved patient care, improved patient satisfaction, improved efficiency. Physicians are constantly being told to push past their burnout and embrace multitasking for the sake of improved health care delivery. Patients are told to "hurry up and wait" as they line up for health care like lemmings on the top of a cliff.
In a world in which the new normal sees physicians and hospitals judged and reimbursed based on patient satisfaction, the goal of "improvement" is paramount. Yet how can worn out physicians make patients happier when they are not so happy themselves?