Using transparency to break the cycle of burnout
Burnout is a well-documented problem among physicians. And as the way we work continues to change in pace with technology, its impact is being felt across all industries.
In 2019, Amy Edmondson spoke with Dropbox’s Anthony Wing Kosner about her research on burnout. Her team, which focuses on healthcare, found a strong connection between workplace culture and burnout:
“There’s less burnout when there’s more of a sense of we’re in this together. Somehow, in comparable situations where burnout is less prevalent, there’s also an emergent information flow that creates a better culture and a better sense of communality. ‘It’s the same work,’ she says, ‘but there’s caring and support and humor—and all of that stuff will result in less of a cognitive and emotional experience of burnout.’”
Edmondson points to trust, psychological safety, and what she calls ‘teaming’ as components that lead to lower instances of burnout.
Trust in the healthcare setting
MaxWorth specializes in the design and implementation of call pay arrangements. Call pay is a historically divisive issue. Therefore, it tends to bring any underlying trust issues that exist between an administration and its medical staff to the forefront. During our years of handling the trust issues that surround call-pay-related conflicts, we’ve learned that the fastest way to build and repair trust is through transparency. For this reason, transparency is one of the foundation principles of our Call Pay Solution.
We believe transparency can be used to mitigate trust issues that spring from other matters. But in order to examine how it can be employed in what might otherwise be a contentious situation, let’s take a look at how MaxWorth uses transparency in our Call Pay Solution.
Transparency’s role in the Call Pay Solution
The most common approach to call pay is to conduct single-specialty negotiations behind closed doors. The problem with this approach is that there are no secrets in the medical community, and oftentimes the rumors surrounding call pay do not reflect the arrangements accurately. Therefore, the lack of transparency inherent in these negotiations contributes to a culture of distrust in medical communities.
The members of the call committee work to develop a relative value for the burden of call for each specialty, not just those demanding to be paid. After the burden of call is established for each specialty, the specialties are placed in tier groups and the call pay budget is allocated appropriately. This process creates a fairness standard that’s missing in the traditional approach.
The committee’s recommendations are shared with the medical staff before they’re presented to administration to ensure that call pay is no longer steeped in secrecy. Oftentimes, medical staffs are satisfied just knowing that a process has been put in place to make sure all call pay arrangements have been established in a fair manner. Transparency lends a sense of fairness, which can aid in aligning medical staffs with administrations.
Our clients have found that our transparent process leads to a higher level of satisfaction surrounding call pay.
Dr. Tom Oliver, former call committee chairmen at Winchester Medical Center, says: “Complaints about call have largely disappeared from the medical staff executive agenda. That’s the biggest thing that’s happened, is we just don’t hear people complain about it as much, so I think what it’s meant to the staff is a lower level of grief in general.”
With a lower level of grief, as Dr. Oliver puts it, and a higher degree of trust, a medical staff can enjoy the benefits of working in an environment that Edmondson believes is much less likely to cause burnout.
MaxWorth can help
To learn more about MaxWorth and how our Physicians’ Call Committee can help your organization establish transparency in its call pay program, schedule a call with one of our plan consultants today.
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