Stop Physician Burnout - the Quadruple Aim Prime Directive for Physician Leaders
The modern physician burnout epidemic is a sign that doctors are at a tipping point ... as in tipping over the edge of a cliff. You think burnout is bad now ... project a future where we simply continue dumping additional responsibilities on their backs as usual.
The Quadruple Aim has the potential to turn the tide of stress and burnout, but only if we can bridge the gulf between UNDERSTANDING the Quadruple Aim and actually IMPLEMENTING it.
Let me show you a powerful way to bring the Quadruple Aim to life in your organization with a simple Prime Directive for Healthcare Leaders.
BACKGROUND: What is the Quadruple Aim?
Used to be that the old Triple Aim was king. Since the Triple Aim was first popularized in the 1990's, healthcare leaders have assumed they only need to focus on these three things1) Cost
3) the Patient Experience/Population health
This blind adoption of the Triple Aim is clearly a factor in our modern physician burnout epidemic, for a simple reason.
The Triple Aim completely ignores the health and wellbeing of the people providing care.
The Health and Wellbeing of the People Providing the Care is the new Fourth Aim
In truth, YOUR PEOPLE COME FIRST.
The health and wellbeing of your people are the only legitimate foundation for optimizing Cost, Quality and the Patient Experience.
This is easy enough to understand ... yes? We all get it. Yet HOW do we reverse the current reality of overwhelm in the systems of care, when the healthcare industry has never known a different way? How do we turn this corner and begin to acknowledge the humanity of the providers - doctors, nurses and all the rest of the staff?
The Leadership Implications:
From now on all four components of the Quadruple Aim should be honored equally in any new projects or systems deployed in your healthcare organization.
Meaning ... we would not implement any new system if it caused a decrease in ANY of the components of the Quadruple Aim.
No system would be put into play if it has a negative effect on ANY of the following:
- the Patient Experience
- OR THE HEALTH AND WELLBEING OF THE PEOPLE PROVIDING CARE
Enter the Quadruple Aim Prime Directive
"No program shall be enacted that produces a negative effect on the health and wellbeing of any member of our care team".
In each healthcare organization, one senior leader must be designated to ask the question,
"What effect does this program/project/new procedure have on the health and wellbeing of our people?".
If that effect is negative THE PROGRAM SHOULD NOT BE IMPLEMENTED WITHOUT SOME FORM OF MITIGATION.
Workload should be a zero sum from this point forward. There is no available additional bandwidth.
If you ask us to do one more thing ...
- What can we STOP doing to make implementation a zero sum?
- Who can you hire to build a bigger care team to handle this increased workload?
- How might you automate it and use tech/software/automatic data collection ... a freakin' app for heaven's sake ... instead of me clicking or data entry-ing anything more?
This is how you Implement the Quadruple Aim
NO NEGATIVE EFFECT ON OUR PEOPLE is a Prime Directive, a mantra, a mandatory checkpoint and a simple metric.
It is a litmus test on your leadership's ability to care for the people providing the care. From this point forward, someone must be able to question any and all new projects with, "What effect does this program/project/new procedure have on the health and wellbeing of our people?".
PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT:
Do your leaders understand the Quadruple Aim?
How does this understanding show up in your workplace?
If there was one aspect of the system of care where you work that you could change to lower people's stress, what would that be and how would you change it?