By Michael Lee Stallard and Katharine P. Stallard
It is customary for your doctor to ask you how you are doing when he or she enters the exam room. We’ve come to expect it. Typically, it is the opening question in a conversation to assess how you are really doing. But how often do you ask your doctor the same question?
Much has been written about America’s loneliness epidemic, including in the workplace. The word “loneliness” in the work context is a misnomer. It doesn’t capture the whole story.
Kathy Bloomgarden, CEO of Ruder Finn, wrote a compelling article in Fortune about how the healthcare industry is slowly losing the very essence of healthcare: human connection.
Like Ms. Bloomgarden, we’re concerned about the decline of human connection in the patient experience. We’re also concerned that a decline of doctor-patient connection is contributing to alarming rates of physician burnout which research has shown is associated with medical errors.
For these reasons, we’ve been working with healthcare organizations for more than a decade to boost human connection by creating Connection Cultures. Read more about it in articles we’ve written for Becker’s Hospital Review including “Creating a Life-Giving Connection Culture in Healthcare Organizations,” “3 Practices to Protect Your People from Toxic Stress and Burnout,” and this podcast on improving cultures in healthcare organizations that we did while speaking at The University of Texas’ M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.
Marianjoy Rehabilitation Hospital, a part of Northwestern Medicine, is an elite performing healthcare organization in terms of patient satisfaction, employee engagement and financial performance. Marianjoy is composed of a network of 500 inpatient medical acute/sub-acute beds and outpatient rehabilitation services delivering a full range of multispecialty services to adults and children in the greater Chicagoland area. More than 50,000 patients receive care within the Marianjoy service network annually.
Marianjoy is led by Kathleen Yosko, its president and CEO. A life-long learner, Ms. Yosko, in addition to being a nurse by background, has earned M.B.A. and Ph.D. degrees. Ms. Yosko is a source of inspiration to the people she leads. She is an example of a leader who communicates an inspiring vision and lives it, as can be seen throughout her remarkable career.
In his excellent TED Talk titled “Doctors make mistakes. Can we talk about that?,” physician Brian Goldman describes the first medical mistake he made, how he made mistakes “over and over again,” and how the culture he worked in made him feel “alone, ashamed and unsupported.” The culture Dr. Goldman describes contributes to widespread burnout in medicine today and it makes future medical mistakes more likely.
Could something as simple as regularly having a meal with colleagues to discuss work experience-related issues help reduce burnout? It seems too simple doesn’t it? Although several factors contribute to burnout, there is good reason to believe connection practices such as taking time to talk with others over lunch or dinner provides a measure of protection. It is certainly having that desired effect at Mayo Clinic.
Burnout is on the rise in healthcare. Increased stress and complexity, and the demands to achieve higher productivity are taking a toll. Each year nearly 400 physicians commit suicide, more than double the rate of the general population. Healthcare workers are also susceptible to anxiety, depression and addiction. What can be done?
The healthcare industry is battling high rates of burnout. Each year, nearly 400 physicians commit suicide – more than double the rate of the general population. In this article published by Becker’s Hospital Review, I explain how healthcare organizations can combat this crisis by fostering Connection Cultures.
||April 29, 2016
||3 Practices to Protect Your People From Toxic Stress and Burnout
||Becker's Hospital Review
Join me on Tuesday, January 5 for a webinar on creating a life-giving culture in your healthcare organization. Hosted by the Greater Chicago Chapter of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS), the webinar will address how to improve your organization’s culture through greater connection.
At the 2015 World Business Forum in New York City, Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini laid out the most important vision at the conference: a vision to save healthcare.