New survey tool will measure physician and APP well-being, provide resources

Authors: Chrissie Ott, M.D., chair, Wellness Committee, Oregon Medical Executive Committee
Linda Cruz, M.D., medical director, Providence Medical Group, Oregon

Your Provider Wellness Committee in Oregon has secured the use of a new survey tool, called the Well-being Index, to support both organizational opportunities to improve wellness and to give immediate feedback on burnout to individual participating providers.

We know that burnout in health care is a systemic issue, and yet the effect is felt at the individual level. In health care, we are taught to put patients before ourselves, so it’s no surprise that we often ignore our own signs of burnout. This survey offers physicians and APPs the opportunity to assess their own stress level and access resources.

The Well-being Index can be accessed at any time, but Providence Oregon would like to get physician and APP participation Jan. 19 through Feb. 16 so we can assess trends and respond to them quickly.

Addressing burnout is critically important

Results released this month and published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings, a peer-reviewed journal, show that 63% of physicians surveyed reported at least one symptom of burnout at the end of 2021 and the beginning of 2022, an increase from 44% in 2017 and 46% in 2011. Only 30% felt satisfied with their work-life balance, compared with 43% five years earlier

Answers to the question, “I rarely experience burnout from my work” on the recent Providence Oregon Physician Engagement survey ranged from 8% to 34% by ministry. That means that, for our highest scoring ministry, 66% of the practitioners are experiencing burnout.

How the Well-being Index works

The Well-being Index tool, which was developed at the Mayo Clinic, offers benchmarks to alert physicians and APPs about their own well-being levels and potential resources to support them. 

The Well-being Index consists of nine questions, is quick and convenient, can be downloaded onto your phone as an app, and can be prompted to repeat the questions regularly to assess your well-being. You can see how your score changes over time.

By answering the survey regularly, physicians and APPs can see if resources you access are helping to address burnout and stress. All answers are collected anonymously. If fewer than five people participate in a work area, their answers will roll up to next largest work area to ensure complete anonymity.

There are 3,800 physicians and APPs at Providence Oregon. Our goal is to get at least 55% participation in the Well-being Index. We will report back on the organization-wide Well-being Index survey results.

How the survey tool works

  • Step 1: Fill in the demo info.
  • Step 2: Answer the nine questions.
  • Step 3: Participants will receive a personal score (risk for burnout is average, above average, etc.), and changes/progress over time will be shown in a graph.
  • Step 4: Under “results,” there are boxes to click for resources, both locally and nationally.

Video that explains how the tool works: Introduction to Well-Being Index (3 min).mp4

Provider support phone numbers and links

In addition to the Well-being Index, Providence Oregon provides a number of resources to support providers, and we encourage you to access them:

All providers 

  • Connect with resources to match your stress level, including a physician support line and behavioral health concierge. This is free for providers, their families and their friends. Visit provider support.
  • Get up to eight free and confidential counseling sessions and additional wellness resources for licensed physicians, physician assistants and advanced practice providers from highly skilled, physician-attuned experts, and funded by grants and institutions. Visit the Oregon Wellness Program.
  • The Wellspring Practitioner Early Assistance Program provides confidential counseling, digital tools and free confidential resources for you and your family including financial consultation, legal consultation, and services such as plumbers, house cleaners and eldercare. Use username: ProvidenceOR

Providence-employed providers 

About the Author

The Pulse content team focuses on bringing you the latest in clinical news from our world-class medical providers and physician leaders.

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