Ivan Zak, DVM on Using Lean to Address Burnout in Veterinary Medicine

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Veterinarian & Entrepreneur, Ivan Zakharenkov, DVM

My guest for Episode #406 is Dr. Ivan Zakharenkov, he's a doctor of veterinary medicine and he's Chief Executive Officer at the company Veterinary Integration Solutions. He goes by Dr. Zak for short and he's based in Brantford, Ontario, Canada.

I'm joined, as my co-host, by Chip Ponsford, DVM — he was also co-host of Episode #254 with a veterinarian as our guest then, as well. Chip also has a blog called Lean Vets and a book titled Lean Veterinary Practice Management.

Today, we all talk about the important issue of burnout — Ivan wrote a whitepaper on the subject and you can download that as a PDF: “Lean Thinking in Veterinary Organizations to Improve Employee Experience.” He also wrote an MBA dissertation of the same name. In that research, he considered a correlation between human and animal healthcare and proposed that lean thinking can help reduce burnout.

This is a topic that we've explored twice on the podcast with Dr. Paul DeChant, looking at it in the realm of “human healthcare.” I agree that Lean can be part of the solution, in these settings and elsewhere!!

Topics and questions include:

  • Tell us about your background as a veterinarian and entrepreneur
  • How did you get introduced to Lean?
  • How bad is the burnout problem? Is it worse for women?
    • Female vets 3.5x rate in society, male vets it's 2.5x
    • Spectrum of burnout?
  • What is compassion fatigue vs. burnout?
    • “Compassion fatigue goes away on vacation, burnout is deeper”
  • What other conclusions did you draw from your dissertation?
  • What are the six triggers of burnout?
  • How does Lean address burnout?
  • Lean as a technical and social system?

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