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Engagement is key to healing physician burnout

Some 50% of U.S. physicians suffer, have suffered, or will suffer from burnout. Think about that. When you consider how pivotal physicians are to the delivery of healthcare, the fact that so many struggle with the emotional exhaustion, cynicism and loss of purpose that define burnout is shocking.

This is an issue whose time has come. Physician burnout deeply affects patient safety, clinical quality and cost. Any health system that thrives in this time of disruption and continuous change will have to address this epidemic. Being a high-performance organization—and certainly a Best Places to Work organization—means making sure physicians are aligned, engaged and healthy.

I've known and worked with many physicians over the years and I've seen firsthand how caring, dedicated and passionate they are. There's no doubt they want to take the best possible care of patients. However, like all healthcare professionals, they are overwhelmed by the massive changes happening in our industry.

The great news is that by working with physicians to get them aligned and engaged, health systems can help prevent and heal burnout. Engagement and burnout are on opposite ends of the spectrum; when physicians are engaged they won't burn out, and vice versa.


There’s never been a better time to really hardwire these tactics. Engaging physicians has always been a goal in healthcare but, until recently, the time wasn’t right. Now, with value-based purchasing and changing employment structures, we’re more motivated than ever to finally make serious headway.

Best Places to Work provider organizations are already thriving, even in the face of so much change. That’s why I’m confident they’ll view the burnout epidemic as an opportunity to recapture the hearts and minds of physicians.

When physicians really buy into and get excited about an organization’s mission, they’ll put the full force of their passion, intelligence and caring behind that mission. When physicians thrive, we all thrive, no matter what sector of the industry. Let’s come together and make it happen.


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