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Paul DeChant MD, MBA Preventing Physican Burnout

Photo credit: Scott R. Kline

Meet Paul DeChant, MD, MBA


Dr. Paul DeChant, MD, MBA is uniquely positioned to support your organization’s efforts to reduce clinician burnout while creating a culture of organizational well-being. He is an experienced physician executive, leadership coach, and expert on physician burnout with a proven approach to identify, treat, and prevent burnout in yourself and your organization.


Dr. DeChant can help your organization reduce the risk of physician burnout through Lean Transformation, which he has helped several professional medical organizations implement with ongoing positive results.

Dr. DeChant is also available to consult on a variety of matters related to running a medical organization, including:

  • Medical Group Leadership Coaching

  • Medical Group Mergers & Acquisitions

  • Physician Engagement

  • EHR Optimization

  • Physician Compensation Plans

Dr. DeChant's first-hand experience as both a physician and an executive includes:

  • A 25 year career practicing family medicine

  • Progressive, 30-year management advancement at Sutter Health and Geisinger 

  • Serving as Sutter Gould Medical Foundation CEO, a 300-physician medical group

  • Improved provider satisfaction from the 45th percentile to the 87th

  • Improved financial performance resulting in two years as Consumer Reports #1 California medical group 

  • Advising senior executives of numerous health systems to achieve performance results 

  • Co-authoring the book, “Preventing Physician Burnout: Curing the Chaos and Returning Joy to Patient Care”


The 5-Step Process

Designed to resolve issues with burnout and return joy to patient care, The 5-Step Process can help your organization thrive while improving your bottom line.


Resolving issues of burnout and the bottom line requires a coordinated systems approach. Dr. DeChant brings more than 30 years of patient care and operational leadership. Additionally, his many years of executive coaching at health systems around the country and writing Preventing Physician Burnout, has provided him the specific insight needed to develop and execute this proven 5-Step Process. 

"After a short time with Dr. DeChant, it was easy to see where our systems had eroded over time. We need our physicians working at peak performance. The 5-Step Process got us there."


Returning Joy to

Patient Care

Dr. DeChant's 30 years of experience as a practicing family physician and a physician executive leader in large healthcare systems led him to his passion for returning joy to patient care through Lean transformation.


He has felt the pain of frustrated patients, overworked providers, and stressed leaders. We have designed provider organizations with the perfect recipe for burnout. In fact, burnout has reached crisis proportions. The good news is that we have great potential to improve the care experience for patients, care givers, and administrators alike.


The key lies in the power of Lean management to transform the organization’s culture. Lean is about removing waste and defects from workflow processes. But most important is the way it accomplishes this, harnessing the power of continuous improvement and respect for people to empower those on the front lines to identify and fix problems in real time. Ultimately, physicians have more time to focus both on their patients in clinical settings and their family and friends at home.

Trusting the people who do the work to fix the problems requires a different role for administration. Leaders must learn to change themselves, from the heroes who rush in to resolve a crisis, to coaches and mentors who support their workers with the resources and mentoring needed to become great problem solvers.


Dr. DeChant personally experienced this change as the CEO of Sutter Gould Medical Foundation, a 300-physician multispecialty medical group in California’s Central Valley. During his five years as its leader, partnering with great physician and non-physician leaders, and coached by Simpler Lean sensei, we transformed our management system and culture. The care experience improved for patients, staff, and providers. As a result, we were recognized by Consumer Reports as the highest rated medical group in California two years in a row.

Nurse Checking Girl
Pediatrician Examining Infant
Female doctor in color

Lean Management Works.

Dr. DeChant was drawn to Family Medicine because of its focus on both treatment and prevention. He is drawn to Lean management because, done right with deep respect for people, it has the power not only to reduce clinician burnout, but to prevent it by addressing its root causes.

Paul's Story

Born in the Bronx, Dr. DeChant grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Portland, Oregon, where he attended medical school at Oregon Health Sciences University. During his family medicine residency in Greeley, Colorado, he met his wife, Bonnie, who at the time was an OR nurse.


Following a year as an ER physician in a small town on Colorado’s Front Range, Bonnie and Dr. DeChant moved to Fremont, California. There he joined the Palo Alto Medical Clinic and was one of the initial four physicians who started up PAMC’s first satellite office. In his nine years there, he became the medical director during a period of rapid growth, served as FM Department Chair at their local community hospital, started a clinic in the local homeless shelter, and was elected to the Board of Directors of the 160-physician Palo Alto Medical Clinic.


Attending an American College of Physician Executives (now the AAPL) management training course, Dr. DeChant was offered the opportunity to return to Colorado and practice in the ski resort of Breckenridge. His wife and him moved our two young daughters to the mountains, where he became the second of a two-physician private practice, serving as a family doctor in a town of 5000 and as an ER doctor at the base of the ski hill.


During eight years in Breckenridge, Dr. DeChant led the merger of five private practices into a 30-provider multi-specialty group, High Country Health Care. Recognizing he had the opportunity to further develop as a physician executive, he also pursued an MBA at the University of Colorado, Denver.

After earning his MBA in Health Administration at the University of Colorado, he was offered the opportunity to join the Geisinger Health System in a physician executive leadership role. In his four years there, he turned around a struggling department of 20 physicians in Lewistown, PA, chaired the compensation committee for Geisinger’s 200-physician Community Practice Division, and initiated Geisinger’s Epic Optimization Committee.


The Palo Alto Medical Foundation then asked Dr. DeChant to return to the San Francisco Bay Area to develop new clinical offices in the East Bay communities of Castro Valley and Dublin. In four years he designed new facilities, recruited physicians and a management team, and initiated a lean management system and culture. Dr. DeChant also facilitated the merger of the three major medical groups under the PAMF umbrella into a single group of 800 physicians.


Following this work, Dr. DeChant was chosen to serve as the CEO for the Sutter Gould Medical Foundation. Over his five years as a physician executive in that role, he led a transformation focused on “Returning Joy to Patient Care” using Simpler Healthcare as our guide. On this journey, he was fortunate to have the support of great colleagues who embodied servant leadership, living by the principles of continuous improvement and respect for people.

Dr. DeChant has since spent eight years coaching C-level executives on transforming their organizations to improve business performance while reducing clinician burnout. Have a look around to learn more about his approach.

“Paul was a consummate professional both on and off the stage and a joy to work with. I highly recommend him as a keynote speaker.” 
Rhondi Davis, Director of Meeting Planning at the National Association of Rural Health Clinics
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