Well-being and value

Burnout takes its toll on physicians. It can also take its toll on health care, and it’s become a growing concern for hospitals and health systems across the country.

Physician burnout — marked by emotional exhaustion, “depersonalization” and a lack of feeling of accomplishment — has a number of causes, depending on the specific work environment.

In our cover story starting on Page 8, Lola Butcher lays out the framework of physician burnout. Her piece describes what hospitals are doing to alleviate it and how a number of groups and organizations are trying to measure clinicians’ well-being in order to develop mechanisms to reduce stress.

Potential answers vary, just like burnout’s causes.

“There’s no one solution,” says Jay Bhatt, D.O., senior vice president and chief medical officer of the American Hospital Association and president of the Health Research & Educational Trust. “The practices and strategies that work are the ones that are contextually relevant to your environment and culture.”

Clinicians also play a prominent role in a feature story on Page 16 by Maggie Van Dyke about value-based payment. As they move to align with value-based payment methods, including Medicare's Quality Payment Program for physicians, hospitals are finding new ways to measure performance. Data and metrics are key to tracking value — when both are robust, the overall process can become less complicated.

Patients benefit when data help produce better care, and physicians can, too, if standardized metrics and automated systems reduce the workload associated with electronic health records.  

“We are looking to take away measures that don’t add value while identifying the path forward as we move into a more integrated approach to patient care,” says the National Quality Forum's Helen Burstin, M.D. 

Also in this issue, we offer tips on how to prevent and respond to potential ransomware attacks — and the role trustees play in meeting their organization's obligations. And this month, Practical Matters focuses on how boards must always be aware of their fiduciary duties, especially as health care undergoes transformation.