Susan Thompson Hingle
Due to concerns about physician health, the ACP recently launched an initiative to cultivate a culture of wellness, enhance practice efficiency, reduce administrative burdens and improve physician well-being and professional satisfaction, according to a press release.
“Health care is experiencing unprecedented changes that threaten its survival,” Susan Thompson Hingle, MD, chair of ACP’s Board of Regents, told Healio Internal Medicine. “To successfully navigate these challenges, we need committed and productive physicians working in collaboration with organization leaders. Unfortunately, the majority of physicians experience some symptoms of burnout. Many become depressed and physician suicide rates are significantly higher than in other professions.”
As a crucial part of the initiative in combatting burnout, ACP plans to establish and train a team of ACP Well-being Champions.
“Physician burnout has been shown to negatively influence quality of care, patient safety, physician turnover and patient satisfaction,” Hingle said. “Engagement is the opposite of burnout and is characterized by vigor, dedication and absorption in work. We need to actively engage physicians in the change process in order to make the changes ones that work.”
Promoting individual well-being, fostering communities of well-being, advocating for systems changes and improving the practice and organizational environment are the main themes and goals of the initiative, according to Hingle.
The ACP is offering courses at its Internal Medicine Meeting in 2018 to help physicians understand the causes of burnout and being professional dissatisfied and the health and mental health problems that may ensue and to explore potential solutions, Hingle said.
“The problems are tricky and individual engagement is essential in helping to change and improve organizations and systems,” she said. “The intent is to help individuals and organizations move from survival mode into thriving.”
“An additional benefit will be making and developing personal connections,” she added. “Modern medicine has minimized and made those connections much more challenging, yet they are of incredible importance to us as human beings.” – by Alaina Tedesco