ACP launches initiative to target physician burnout
The American College of Physicians is launching an initiative to improve doctor job satisfaction, hoping that will help curb the tide of clinicians leaving the field due to burnout.
The organization's new "Physician Well-being and Professional Satisfaction" initiative aims to promote wellness by providing clinicians with educational tools to help reduce the impact of several job-related stressors, such as the burden of administrative tasks, poor work-life balance, patient overload and pressures to reduce health costs.
Part of ACP's wellness initiative includes establishing a "well-being champions" program in each of its chapters. The program consists of a team of trained ACP members dedicated to providing support and peer coaching by sharing evidence-based strategies to improve clinician well-being and professional satisfaction. Team members will also measure burnout among fellow chapter members and establish discussion groups for clinicians.
"I believe that we can utilize the incredible experience, intelligence, resilience, spirit and commitment of our members to significantly improve the well-being and professional satisfaction of our internists and internists-in-training," said Dr. Susan Thompson Hingle, chair of ACP's Board of Regents, in a statement.
Additionally, ACP is offering online educational resources for clinicians that address issues such as how to better establish greater satisfaction at home and work, improving physician-patient engagement, and improving practice organizational efficiencies to lessen administrative burdens.
The initiative is the latest in a series of efforts medical specialty groups have undertaken in recent years to address burnout among their members. A 2015 survey of physicians conducted by the Mayo Clinic found 54% of respondents had at least one symptom of burnout in 2014 compared with 45% in 2011.
According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, nearly two-thirds of family physicians report at least one element of burnout. The group this week announced plans to make physician well-being a focal point of its agenda in 2018 by focusing on advocacy to address driving factors such as inadequate payment, administrative burden and the complexities involving electronic health records.
Physician burnout has been associated with a rise in the number of physicians opting for early retirement. A 2013 survey conducted by Deloitte 62% of doctors planned to retire earlier than expected, reducing patient access. Burnout has also been linked to poorer healthcare quality and higher safety risks for patients, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.
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