More than 40 physicians and other health care professionals had the opportunity to share their experiences with physician burnout and see how Wisconsin measures up at the Wisconsin Medical Society’s Physician Well-being and Resiliency Forum held yesterday at Carroll University in Waukesha.
The half-day forum featured speakers Allison Winkler, AMA lead for physician burnout and practice transformation initiatives, and Arthur S. Hengerer, MD, director and past chair of the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB), followed by round table discussions on three key questions:
- What does your ideal practice/work environment look like?
- What resources do physicians need or what would be helpful to provide to physicians on a resource page?
- What systematic changes would you like to see in your practice?
Winkler shared results of the AMA Mini-Z Survey on physician satisfaction and burnout, which was conducted late last year by the Society in conjunction with the AMA. Findings show that 54 percent of Wisconsin physicians are experiencing burnout—a number that surpasses national benchmarks—and primary causes include utilization and interactions with electronic health records, lack of a supportive practice environment, loss of autonomy and poor work/life balance. The Society is preparing a white paper on this study, which will be published in the December issue of WMJ.
Doctor Hengerer, who is featured in the latest episode of WisMed On Call, also shared efforts underway nationally to address burnout, which he describes as a dilemma rather than a problem.
“If it’s a problem, we fix it. But when you have a dilemma, you have to come up with multiple solutions and habits and methods to deal with something that’s constantly in a flow and flux and changing,” he said. “It’s just not an easy fix.
“Where the direction is beginning to change focus is in what’s going on with the system and what has to change within the system that will begin to make it so the physicians can find joy in their practice,” he continued.
Systemic change was a key theme during the round table discussion as well, as participants shared changes they’d like to see in their practices.
“When I think about what I’d like to change, it’s just making people feel like they’re people and they’re valued and that we care about them,” said Nicole Eull, PsyD.
The forum was planned by members of the Society’s Physician Experience Task Force to help focus and inform the Society’s efforts to address burnout. Watch for more information in future issues of Medigram or contact Anne Hauer or H.J. Waukau.
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