The Healthcare Experience

Daily perspectives of a healthcare executive in pursuit of patient safety, the premier healthcare experience, an engaged & healthy workforce and life balance.

The Optimal Workplace Environment: Bridging Provider Work Life and Well-being

I'm one "click" away from a meltdown!

Recently, I was part of one of our clinical service line annual retreats. The focus was on several performance goals in support of our organization's strategic priorities.  The group's dialogue constantly moved us towards a shared vision. It was inspiring and refreshing to be part of this discussion.  

So many conversations in healthcare and around the nation are polarizing. An "all or none" or "a win or lose only scenario".  Even as health and well-being is discussed, many people want to stick with one view... People will share only one view..."it's all about lifestyle behaviors or the payment models/how and who gets paid or just take medications or just get the surgery or my patients will never comply".  Each view is a narrow lens of keeping our patient's overall care at the center of all our clinical decisions. There really needs to be a balance of all aspects of health to better meet our patients' needs. This includes clinician and staff's workplace wellbeing.  One example brought up in our retreat was around the electronic health record and the number of "clicks' to enter the necessary information. There is a delicate balance between ensuring high safe, quality care and exhausting those who are providing the care.

In the book, Mindful Healthcare: Healthy Team, Healthy Business, Dr. Wayne Jonas references the Quadruple Aim, focused on clinician's work life as well as the need to look at real ways to "transform" healthcare. He states, "as our policy leaders debate coverage, pre-existing conditions, central vs. local control, and the role of government in healthcare as it is, they will continue to miss healthcare as it needs to be and can become."  Our role in healthcare is to collaborate across our system and community, with patients and key partners in pursuit of an improved healthcare delivery system. 

What can you do to advance health in your organization?

We all know in order to take better care of our patients, you need to stay focused on the needs of your team.  Think about what is contributing to better clinician and staff work life and well-being. Also give thought to what takes away from this. If you are not sure, just ask your team and you will find out in 5 minutes! 

Try moving forward with small tests of change so you are better able to disrupt outdated care models and work processes. These steps could include:

1. Frame the vision and goals, facilitating the discussion and work towards a shared vision;

2. Understand your current outcomes and variances against national benchmark;

3. Review your work processes, work loads and work situations which contribute or reduce work place stressors;

4. Appreciate the need to reduce staff "burnout" and share stress management techniques to improve staff resiliency; and

5. Acknowledge that exceptional care can not be achieved consistently without the focusing on the wellbeing of your team.

Healthcare organizations need to learn from our health system as well as other industries.  Please share ways you are creating an optimal workplace environment in your organization. 

Game on!

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