Editor’s note: This article was adapted from a paper submitted toward fulfillment of the requirements of Fellowship in the American College of Medical Practice Executives. Learn more about ACMPE certification.
The pace of change in healthcare is increasing rapidly, creating more pressure on physicians and practices. Changing government regulations, shifting payment models, higher patient expectations, expanding performance measurement and the use of EHRs and other technologies are driving physician practices to transform to stay current. With physicians at the center of many of these activities, the resultant pressures are affecting the entire care team.
There is an expanding body of evidence demonstrating increasing burnout levels in the physician workforce. Practices, health systems and medical societies are all bringing physician burnout to the forefront. Nationally there is a call to move from the Triple Aim — better individual healthcare, better population health and lower costs — to the Quadruple Aim, adding the well-being of the clinical workforce to the mix.1
While many practice managers recognize that a more satisfied physician workforce will provide more engaged and better-quality care to patients, practice managers may not be implementing needed changes to enhance the satisfaction and well-being of the physician workforce. A clear business case is needed for implementing changes that may enhance the satisfaction of the physician workforce and the entire care team. Even physicians, many of whom maybe experiencing symptoms of burnout, may not fully understand the justification for addressing this issue. How do practice managers justify making investments to address physician burnout? Are investments to improve physician satisfaction justified in an environment of limited resources and competing demands?