Advancing Organizational Well-Being
I’d like to welcome you to a new resource for colleagues who are working to reduce clinician burnout AND improve patient care and organizational results.
After 25 years of clinical practice, 30 years of leadership in health systems, and five years of health system transformation coaching, I’m establishing my own consulting practice. My primary focus will be on the combined goals of reducing clinician burnout and improving organizational performance.
Clinicians experience burnout as a result of working hard in a toxic work environment rife with barriers to their ability to properly care for their patients. Providing quality care in such an environment requires unrelenting vigilance and focus.
But that's not sustainable in the long run. And things are getting worse.
Clinician burnout is now a major threat to both public health and health system sustainability. The downstream impact of clinician depression, family dysfunction, and suicide are not improving.
Administrator burnout is increasing every year and steadily catching up with clinicians.
Provider organizations are under increasing pressure to do more with less, and/or significantly change the way they provide care, because . . .
The ever-increasing cost of health care is not sustainable for our society.
So, there is a clear need to improve the experience for patients, fix the issues that are driving clinicians away, heal the dysfunctional relationships between leaders and front line clinicians, and reduce the cost of care while improving outcomes.
The good news is that we can do this! It won’t be easy, but done right, it can be inspiring. Many people are skeptical that such a change is possible. It not only is possible, but it’s been done.
I’ve led a team that achieved these goals in a 300-physician medical group in the Central Valley of California. We transformed our group using a multi-faceted approach with a goal of “Returning Joy to Patient Care.”
The Drivers of Burnout
We didn’t realize it at the time, but our leadership team was systematically addressing the six drivers of burnout, which include:
Work Overload – made worse for physicians due to workplace chaos and time pressure
Lack of Control – a direct challenge to physicians’ strongly held value of autonomy
Inadequate Reward – physicians are experiencing the erosion of intangible rewards like professional recognition, autonomy, collegiality and joy in patient care
Breakdown of Community – there’s less time for physicians to connect with each other, or with their support staff, and even their families
Absence of Fairness – for many reasons, physicians are not treated fairly and equitably by patients, leadership, and sometimes their colleagues
Mismatch of Values – increasingly health systems set expectations for high levels of quality performance while reducing the budget needed to support the work, frustrating physicians in the process
In the coming weeks, I’ll write blog posts that go deeper into each driver, and then follow each a few days later with a vignette from our book that provides examples of organizations that have addressed each of the drivers, including
Immersing leaders and board members in clinical care experiences
Developing physician leaders
Prioritizing physician well-being
Engaging physicians in strategic planning
Implementing physician-administrator dyad leadership teams
Keep in Touch
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And feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you'd like to learn more about how I can help with a structured approach that can be uniquely tailored to your needs.