Every healthcare organization wants its physicians to be passionate, happy and find purpose and meaning in their work. Physicians who are unhappy or over stressed are in danger of providing suboptimal care, with burnout and its dire consequences a possibility. And given today’s escalating medical-workplace stressors - from the challenges of EMRs to growing patient loads to ever-changing work environments - investing in well being and resilience are increasingly being seen as key to patient care and patient safety. But the advantages don’t end there. Here are three less-obvious benefits of well being programs.
1. Investment now can hold down future costs.
Burnout is a money drain. As the AMA STEPS Forward™ website notes, “Each provider who leaves the practice costs money and adds stress to remaining providers… [while] investing money now to reduce physician stress and burnout could provide significant return on investment down the road.”
STEPS Forward suggests revising schedules to make them more amenable to providers who are parents and redesigning team meetings to make them more efficient and productive. Above all, developing a culture open to how values can help physicians stay connected to the purpose and passion of the practice of medicine, which works against the deadly “I-don’t-care-anymore” aspect of burnout. Discussing equity, excellence, respect, compassion and other resonant values builds engagement and a continued passion of medicine.
If low-cost or money-neutral measures such as these can keep a healthcare organization from incurring the approximately $400,000 to $600,000 in turnover costs per person, the ROI can be very substantial.
2. Well being programs can be a recruitment tool.
The factors contributing to stress and burnout of contemporary medical work are no secret. Physicians considering joining a specific healthcare organization are likely to be attracted to systems seriously committed to their well being as demonstrated by offering solutions proven to support physician well being. And recruitment will continue to be crucial in keeping the American healthcare system viable, given predictions the country will face a shortage of between 40,800 and 104,900 physicians by 2030.
3. Millennials prioritize work-life balance.
In light of this looming shortage, younger professionals in many fields, while dedicated to their work, are also deeply concerned with balancing the demands of work and life. In a 2016 study by Deloitte, for example, millennials worldwide rated work-life balance as the most important of 13 workplace values, beating out “opportunities to progress/be leaders” and “flexibility.” A commitment to well being will demonstrate to millennial physicians an organization is aligned with this paramount value.
Clearly physician well being programs represent a strategy with multiple payoffs - and an investment whose returns can be seen in multiple aspects of quality medical care.
We Can Help
Let us help you take advantage of these benefits. Our Physician Well Being Resources represent a preventative comprehensive set of measures for promoting physician well being tailored to the needs of your organization. Contact us to learn more!
- STEPS Forward™ Preventing Physician Burnout https://www.stepsforward.org/modules/physician-burnout
- “Research Shows Shortage of More than 100,000 Doctors by 2030” AAMCNEWS, March 14, 2017. https://news.aamc.org/medical-education/article/new-aamc-research-reaffirms-looming-physician-shor/
- “The 2016 Deloitte Millennial Survey: Winning over the next generation of leaders” https://www2.deloitte.com/content/dam/Deloitte/global/Documents/About-Deloitte/gx-millenial-survey-2016-exec-summary.pdf