Becker’s Hospital Review Annual Meeting was a large event with 4,000 attendees that covered a wide range of topics:
- Treatment methods and results
- Mergers and Acquisitions
- Culture – Effect it has on patients
- Administrative management
- Change management
- Love – As a basis for perspective
- Technologies – Systems and platforms
- New Entrants – Amazon and Apple
- Communications – with patients and internally
All the topics had one commonality – change in healthcare is everywhere and there is no end in sight. As part of that commonality nearly every speaker directly or indirectly mentioned how their topic will affect the STRESS levels of physicians and other clinical workers.
Think about it—a new healthcare record system or process of being acquired or leader the organization change process—all of which add stress to an already intense work environment.
On top of that, we are seeing increased levels of consumerism. Expectations from patients are much higher—they’ve done their research, compared healthcare options and are not willing to wait around. Add to that new options such as telemedicine, payers getting into the delivery space and new market entrants (Google, Amazon and Apple) intending to make a play soon.
Stressors are coming from every direction.
Those of us who are interested in the physical and mental well being of healthcare workers often commented this much change cannot be good. Even though some speakers said their solution would “make things better,” their studies and analysis covered a single factor of change independently. However, the current level of changes, happening dynamically and all at once, is certainly leading to stress and burnout, and healthcare systems are struggling to keep up.
Healthcare organizations want to help. Some are being aggressive with culture by being a great place to work where patients can tell something special is happening. Others are just getting started and tackling issues such as second victim trauma that causes high levels of stress.
A second victim is defined as, “a healthcare provider involved in an unanticipated adverse patient event, medical error and/or a patient related-injury who became victimized in the sense that the provider is traumatized by the event.”
Another healthcare organization reported having added Oasis Rooms (quiet safe places to regroup) and therapy dogs for employees to help with stress and burnout. There is still much to be done as these ideas were not common and the majority of the attendees agreed that stress and burnout levels are only getting worse.
Clearly all the changes in healthcare are going to continue across the spectrum of touch points of physicians & advanced practitioners. These changes are going to continue to add stressors to physicians and will result in continued levels of burnout. Organizations need to plan ahead and have resources available to provide support for their physicians & advanced practitioners before it’s too late.
We Can Help
VITAL WorkLife has developed well being solutions specifically for physicians and healthcare organizations, including Physician Well Being Resources, organizational consulting and coaching & support. For more information on these solutions or anything else, visit VITALWorkLife.com or contact us at 877.731.3949.
The natural history of recovery for the adverse patient events healthcare provider ''second victim'' after adverse patient events. Scott et al http://www.secondvictim.be/downloads/scott_2009.pdf