How the Mayo Clinic reduces the chance of physician burnout

The Mayo Clinic is tackling the problem of physician burnout with a program that focuses on increasing collaboration and building camaraderie.

In what the healthcare organization is calling the listen-act-develop model, it is focusing on three factors to help engage its physicians: choice, social connectedness, and excellence, according to a report on AMA Wire. The health system is treating physicians as architects in the design of the care delivery model rather than construction workers who simply follow someone else's plan, said Stephen Swenson, M.D., medical director of Mayo's office of leadership and organization development, who helped create the model.

A study recently completed by the Mayo Clinic found almost 55 percent of physicians nationwide feel burned out, FiercePracticeManagement previously reported.

Mayo Clinic began addressing the problem by listening to what its physicians had to say. In a formal forum, the health system invited doctors to discuss their top pain points, which included factors such as too much clerical work, too many process inefficiencies, and wanting ways to have some control over their daily and weekly schedules.

"If you have seen the causes of burnout in one unit, you have seen the causes of burnout in one unit," Swenson said. "They are unique and variable." Swenson warned, however, that if health organizations are going to ask physicians for feedback, they need to follow through and address those issues. The Mayo Clinic model considers three factors essential to physicians:

Choice. Physicians want to have some control over their lives, which comes with granting some flexibility and valuing physician input.

Camaraderie and social connections. Physicians should take time to socialize with team members and colleagues, which leads to more collaboration. Two studies showed that simply getting physicians together for a meeting or a meal raised camaraderie and lowered burnout markers, Swenson said.

Excellence. Leaders should establish good relationships with physicians and understand their concerns. They should then work as partners in meeting the needs of patients.

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