The National Academy of Medicine Action Collaborative on Clinician Well-Being and Resilience launched a plan this month to guide collective action to restore the health and well-being of healthcare professionals. The view advanced by the NAM is that healthier healthcare professionals equate to better outcomes, lower costs, and better patient care.
The plan identifies seven priority areas for the well-being of healthcare workers:
• Create and sustain positive working and learning environments and a culture. Transforming health systems and health education and training by prioritizing and investing in efforts to optimize environments that prevent and reduce burnout, promote occupational well-being and support quality care.
• Invest in measurement, evaluation, strategy and research. Broaden the adoption of existing tools at the health system level and advance national research on reducing health worker burnout and improving wellbeing.
• Support mental health and reduce stigma. Provide support to healthcare professionals by removing barriers and reducing the stigma associated with seeking the services needed to address mental health challenges.
• Addressing compliance, regulatory and policy barriers to day-to-day work. Prevent and reduce unnecessary burdens arising from laws, regulations, policies and standards imposed on healthcare professionals.
• Use effective technological tools. Optimize and expand the use of health information technologies that support healthcare professionals in providing high quality patient care and serve the health of the population and minimize technologies that inhibit clinical decision making or add administrative burden.
• Institutionalizing well-being as a long-term value. Ensuring COVID-19 recovery efforts address the toll on health care workers’ well-being now and in the future, and strengthen public health and health systems for future emergencies.
• Recruit and maintain a diverse and inclusive health workforce. Promote careers in the health professions and increase pathways and systems for a diverse, inclusive and thriving workforce.
According to NAM, the plan is intended to be a starting point that will help coordinate actions on the ground and provide a roadmap for developing a health system where health is delivered “with joy and meaning”, by a committed team, in collaboration. with patients and communities involved. It will take the collective efforts of many individuals, organizations and coalitions of actors to reverse trends in health care burnout.
There are 10 key elements to leading a successful national movement, and the NAM Clinician Well-Being Collaborative has been working on many of these elements since 2017. Here is an overview:
1. Frame the crisis In 2017, the NAM established the Clinician Well-Being Collaborative to raise the visibility of physicians’ anxiety, burnout, depression and suicide, recognizing that physician well-being is essential for safe, high-quality healthcare. . The work of the Clinician Well-Being Collaborative before and during the COVID-19 pandemic recognizes the challenges that healthcare professionals face as systemic, complex and long-standing.
2. Strengthen the science The NAM released the report, Taking action against physician burnout: a systemic approach to professional well-being in 2019. The Clinician Well-Being Collaborative is also a leader in identifying evidence-based strategies to improve clinician well-being at both the individual and systemic level. Products include an online knowledge hub, a set of NAM Perspectives documents, and a conceptual model that reflects the domains that affect clinician well-being.
3. Build a coalition Initially, the Clinician Well-Being Collaborative focused on fostering a community of diverse stakeholders in the healthcare system. More than 200 organizations have joined the Clinician WellBeing Collaborative network making a visible commitment to address the issue of clinical burnout and support the work and priorities of the Clinician WellBeing Collaborative locally.
4. Evaluate the environment and politics Collaborative working groups have identified evidence-based strategies to engage leadership, break the culture of silence, organize promising practices and metrics, address workload and workflow, and act on recommendations to improve well-being of the doctor. Recent areas of focus include mobilizing national stakeholders, reviewing and applying the lessons learned from COVID-19, and implementing evidence-based tools for the well-being of physicians.
5. Make the economic case The NAM’s Taking Action Against Clinician Burnout report raised the far-reaching consequences of burnout on a personal, organizational and social level. The report estimates $ 4.6 billion in social costs each year in the United States due to U.S. clinical staff reporting substantial symptoms of burnout. The Clinician Well-Being Collaborative has launched a compendium of resources for the well-being of health professionals, with tools to calculate the organizational costs of burnout and other resources for managers and health professionals to be used in all settings of the practice.
6. Get the government involved The Clinician Well-Being Collaborative has more than 100 members in all sectors participating in working groups, including representatives from the Agency for Health Research and Quality, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, and Veterans Health Administration. In 2021, the Office of the Surgeon General joined the Clinician Well-Being Collaborative, to lead alongside the NAM, the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education, and the Association of American Medical Colleges.
7. Create a plan The priorities, objectives and actions envisaged by the National Plan are urgent, but complex. The NAM has created a national plan to focus on the immediate and long-term needs of health professionals with the intention that the goals and actions will allow for a lasting state of well-being. Each actor and sector should identify the most pressing priorities or promising opportunities and develop plans for short, medium and long term action in accordance with available resources and in collaboration with other actors.
NAM is now focusing on the last three elements:
8. Broadly communicate the details of the National Plan
9. Activate Change Makers to spark action nationwide
10. Inspire Advocacy of the National Plan
For more information on the plan, click here.