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Can Wellness Programs Improve Patient Care?

When people are under a lot of stress, it can affect their work. When a doctor is under stress and fatigued, it can cause injury or harm to patients. Good mental health can reduce the effects of stress and improve well-being. A number of medical centers are introducing physician well-being programs to improve patient care and reduce doctor burnout. 

Doctor Burnout Survey

In 2016, Stanford Medicine’s WellMD Center conducted a survey of physician wellness, including looking at predictors of burnout and professional fulfillment. More than one-third (34%) of physicians reported one or more symptoms of burnout. However, burnout was lower in physicians who reported a culture of appreciation, with control of schedule, and peer support. 

Sleep-related impairment was another predictor of burnout. Lack of sleep, fatigue, and drowsiness is also linked to making mistakes where it is more difficult for someone who is sleep-deprived to concentrate on tasks. Combined with increased burnout, this could increase the risk of medical mistakes related to sleep impairment. 

According to a study by Ball State, researchers analyzed sleep data from the National Health Interview Survey and found that the healthcare support industry (such as doctors and nurses) ranked among the top industries in which employees report being sleep deprived.

Which Wellness Strategies Work?

The doctors in the survey also responded to wellness strategies, with doctors rating the following strategies highly: 

  • Strategies to promote leadership traits associated with improved professional satisfaction,
  • Clear recognition and support of importance of physician wellness from leaders,
  • Conveniently located quality food, and
  • Use of positive psychology to promote compassionate growth-mindset. 

Medical Center Wellness Programs

In one example, the Mayo Clinic Program on Physician Well-Being was established to conduct and promote innovative research focused on physician well-being. According to the program’s research, physician burnout threatens the quality of patient care, patient satisfaction, and access to care. 

Johns Hopkins Medicine only established their Office of Well-Being a couple of years ago. Partnering with faculty and staff, the office was developed to: 

  • Advance health and well-being
  • Increase fulfillment at work
  • Promote work-life balance
  • Expand opportunities for professional growth
  • Remove workplace inefficiencies  

The American Medical Association has offered 4 steps to creating an effective physician well-being program. Identifying existing goals and processes is important to know where the medical center is and establish what the program is looking to do. Next, is looking at system interaction between individuals, the organization, and culture. Discover transition interactions and survey the stakeholders can help implement change and see what is working and what is not.

Patient Care and Medical Errors in Philadelphia 

When a doctor makes a mistake because of problems at the medical center or lack of sleep, it can have a severe impact on patient safety. Medical mistakes can cause infection, injury, paralysis, disfigurement, and require extensive follow-up care. If you or a family member was injured because of a medical error, an experienced Philadelphia medical malpractice attorney can help you get compensation for your losses. Do not hesitate to contact Gilman & Bedigian today for a free consultation.


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