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How can medical facilities adopt a system that will help their healthcare professionals be resilient during the pandemic and beyond

Healthcare professional (HCP) burnout and mental health issues were a public health challenge before the pandemic. The pandemic has worsened the situation. Physicians experiencing burnout are more likely to generate unsolicited patient complaints that may be associated with avoidable medical and surgical errors and excess malpractice claims experience. Surveys have found an association between symptoms of burnout and physician perceptions of increased medical error, as well as increased physician intent to reduce clinical hours or leave clinical practice. Many experts believe that the greatest share of HCP burnout is related to healthcare organization’s operations and its culture. The American Medical Association has made recommendations that a medical facility can use to improve the health and well-being of the HCP. These recommendations include frequent data collection of the HCP during the pandemic, establishment of a 5-member multidisciplinary committee to assess the data and make decisions based on the data, a mechanism to communicate the committee’s decisions to senior leadership and HCP, and HCP feedback of the committee’s decisions to assess the need for any revisions.
Physicians can help their institution implement these recommendations. Easier said than done, but not impossible! Gerald Hickson, MD and Florence LeCraw, MD will share their experiences and observations on successes and obstacles encountered in initiatives to support professionals to improve their well-being and their professionalism in pursuit of safety and high reliability. Gerald Hickson, MD serves as the Vice- Chair on the board of the Institute of Healthcare Improvement and past chair of the National Patient Safety Foundation. He has led teams that successfully implemented elements of the AMA’s recommendation at over 220 Hospitals in the U.S. A research focus of Florence LeCraw, MD has been patient safety and HCP burnout. She is a member of teams that successfully helped healthcare organizations implement a program that improved the well-being of HCP and patients when an unexpected adverse outcome occurred to their patient. They will describe the AMA’s recommendations that a medical facility can use to identify professionals who may be struggling and how healthcare institutions can improve the resilience of their HCP and what you can do to help your institution affect change.