Providence St. Joseph Health Expands Program to Re-engage Providers and Alleviate Employee Burnout

April 9, 2019 Michael Connors
April 09, 2019


Renton, WA—With more than half of U.S. physicians reporting symptoms of burnout in today’s demanding medical environment, Providence St. Joseph Health—one of the nation’s largest health systems—is expanding its Own It program to re-engage providers and employees to address burnout throughout its seven-state system.

Initially developed by and for St. Joseph Heritage Healthcare caregivers in Southern California, Own It is a cultural transformation program that reminds employees and providers why they were called to health care and emphasizes their responsibility for maintaining a culture of care and compassion. Program training includes scene-setting for improving patient and peer-to-peer interactions, communication strategies and mindset enhancement.

“Time constraints, administrative duties, complex technology, increased regulations and a sense of disengagement with patients contribute to physician and employee dissatisfaction nationwide,” said Mike Butler, president of operations and strategy at Providence St. Joseph Health. “We want a solution that can help our caregivers address these concerns using their own sense of personal purpose paired with our culture of compassion and empathy. We’ve seen a measurable difference with this program and are pleased to bring it to providers across the entire Providence St. Joseph Health organization.”

More than 6,200 Providence St. Joseph Health staff and 1,300 providers have attended an Own It session to date. For physicians who have participated in Own It, engagement in 2017 was in the 71st percentile nationwide, up from 58th in 2016. Patient surveys show significant improvements in satisfaction with staff courtesy and communication with physicians who have participated in Own It.

The prevalence of physician burnout, fueled by a national shortage of physicians, has reached critical levels. The 2018 Survey of America’s Physicians Practice Patterns and Perspectives found that 78 percent of physicians experienced professional burnout, up four percent from 2016. Studies have also found that caregiver burnout leads to lower patient satisfaction scores and a higher rate of medical errors.

The Own It program is based on five declarations and actions – greet, respect, engage, assist and transition – aimed at transforming the provider, employee and patient experience.

Participants regularly discuss "Own It Moments," showcasing exemplary patient and collegial interactions, and are encouraged to share what they’ve learned.

“The Own It program asks our providers and caregivers to take personal responsibility for each interaction with patients, colleagues, health care partners and community members,” said Kevin Manemann, executive vice president and Chief Executive for Providence St. Joseph Health’s physician enterprise. “It has significantly contributed to our high physician engagement, and has given our physicians and employees a platform to have a voice in how they do their work. Ensuring we are compassionate, empathetic, and authentic with one another, and implementing programs for sustaining this mindset, has been rewarding for both our caregivers and those receiving care.”

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