Amid a culture that contributes to burnout and the loss of a sense of joy in medicine, a Chief Wellness Officer (CWO) can help an organization systematically improve the wellbeing of physicians and others health professionals.
It is important for a new CWO to study and understand the organization before jumping in to make changes. A step forward from the AMA® toolkit helps organizations do just that and more. The Chief Wellness Officer’s Roadmap toolkit outlines a nine-step approach that CWOs can follow to implement an organizational professional wellness strategy. The second step in the toolkit is to study and understand the organization.
“It is important to have a clear understanding of your organizational structure and the scope of your responsibilities from the outset: Who are the professionals in your area of responsibility? What wellness data has already been acquired? explained Christine Sinsky, MD, vice president of job satisfaction at the AMA, who co-authored the toolkit.
Dr Sinsky said it’s also important to understand the wellness-related work already underway by leaders in other departments of your organization, for example, human resources, information technology and development. of the faculty.
“This will allow you and your team to complement these efforts, without unnecessary duplication and without causing unintended friction,” she said.
As a CWO begins to understand the organization, the toolkit recommends focusing on these six fundamental areas:
- Organizational structures. Consider size, geographic spread, number of locations, and leadership hierarchy.
- The organization’s relationship with its medical workforce. See if there is a direct employment, an open staff model, an affiliate network, or a combination of these models. Also consider the reporting structure of who oversees these people.
- Top priorities of the management team. These are usually found in the organization’s strategic plan and can include things like expanding access, improving quality, expanding the market, moving to new models of payment, entering into contracts with local employers or preparing value-based payments.
- The current financial health of the organization.
- Reputational assets and risks.
- External landscape and competitiveness of the practice environment in which the organization operates.
Once the CWO understands the big organizational factors, it is crucial to collect quantitative data. Even if the organization already measures professional commitment, it is not enough. To get an overall picture, the organization must assess the positive and negative aspects of the environment.
Typically, an assessment involves a facility-wide investigation involving physicians and other professionals in the CWO’s scope. Surveys should holistically assess the dimensions of professional growth and professional distress. They must also use standardized and validated instruments that have national references. The toolkit offers several sample surveys, such as the AMA Professional Burnout and Satisfaction Survey (the Mini-Z).
With survey data in hand, use the insights to catalyze conversations across the organization. For example, the toolkit suggests a ‘listening tour’. This can include sharing survey results with different work units, getting feedback on whether the results accurately reflect people’s experiences, and asking for input on what would be the greatest opportunities for improvement. system-wide and local improvement.
CWOs can also ask questions about positive experiences of the listening tour. The ‘Appreciative Inquiry’ framework is one way to do this, which involves asking participants to verbally share with the group – or write on a card that is collected – two or three aspects of their work that are going well and a couple of things that are the most frustrating.
During this phase, it is important for CWOs to let people know that they are part of the data collection process and that the information will help prioritize the issues that will be addressed. CWOs should also be careful not to expect themselves and other leaders to resolve all issues raised in the sessions.
The open-access AMA STEPS Forward toolkits offer innovative strategies that enable physicians and their staff to thrive in the new healthcare environment. These courses can help you prevent physician burnout, create the organizational foundation for joy in medicine, and improve practice efficiency.