Specialty: Internal medicine
Titles: Chair of the Internal Medicine Department, Associate Medical Director, CareMount Medical
Hospital: Northern Westchester Hospital
Dr. Lisa R. Bardack has a simple explanation for how she is able to balance a busy medical practice with administrative roles as Chief of the Internal Medicine Department and Associate Medical Director at CareMount Medical. “I am insanely organized,” she says, and a description of her workday suggests this must be true. A board-certified internist who is also responsible for overseeing more than 100 internists at CareMount, Bardack gets to work between 7:15 a.m. and 8:30 a.m.; she sees patients nonstop throughout the day while taking time out for committee meetings, department meetings, general troubleshooting, and answering administrative emails.
On top of her already hectic schedule, Bardack also plays an active role in CareMount’s Women’s Council, among other groups and steering committees, and is deeply involved in initiatives to advance population health and the move to value-based medicine. She frequently works at home at night to complete paperwork and make sure her patients have the prescriptions they need.
Bardack initially planned to pursue a career as a psychiatrist; it was during medical school rotations that she fell in love with internal medicine. “I liked that internal medicine dealt with the whole person and not just one aspect,” she says, adding that, “it allows you to form deep personal connections with your patients.” One patient she recalls as being particularly moving was a young mother whose cancer Bardack discovered through testing.
“I had to tell her and her husband the news,” she recalls. “I watched her fight her disease over time and lots of treatment. She ultimately lost her battle, but after she passed, I continued to see other family members as patients, and I’ve seen them rebuild their lives.” Bardack considers this kind of deep patient connection to be “the art of medicine,” and says, “What motivates me is not only preserving this art within my own practice but also, as an administrator, helping my colleagues adjust to new requirements in medicine while not losing sight of the aspects of doctoring that led them to the profession.”
The new realities that physicians face (increased documentation and electronic record keeping just to name two) put more demands on a doctor’s time. These demands, along with not taking care of themselves properly, can contribute to physician burnout. In her administrative capacity, Bardack is trying to make more efficient use of support staff to streamline the ways some tasks are accomplished so that doctors can spend more time with patients. As she says, “I don’t have burnout, so I want to help other physicians who are experiencing that.”
In her own life, Bardack strives to find a balance between work responsibilities, family, and outside interests. “I exercise every day,” she says, and credits living in Westchester with making that easier — for herself and her patients. “Westchester, in general, is conducive to a healthier lifestyle,” she says. “People have more access to outdoor activities, and they take advantage of that.” The logistics of combining a full life, administrative roles, and patient care are trying, but Bardack enjoys the challenge, and says, “I feel like I can actively improve patients’ lives while making things better for other doctors. I love what I do.”