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"Chief Wellness Officer Role at the Center of Effort to Reduce Burnout" - Maria Castalucci

  • Modern Healthcare
  • New York, NY
  • (March 09, 2019)

The question of how to reduce clinician burnout is being answered by some providers by appointing a chief wellness officer. Supporters of this new role, which can be found at about a dozen health systems across the U.S., argue that the burnout issue demands attention from someone in a C-suite level position. Burnout can be found among roughly 44 percent of doctors nationally, according to recent estimates, and a growing body of evidence shows it can harm quality of care, patient experience scores and the bottom line through higher turnover. Dr. Jonathan Ripp, chief wellness officer at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai since March, said the reaction from physician faculty about his role has been a “mixed bag.” Some are excited to see the health system has appointed someone to address burnout, while others question how much of an impact he can make. Burned-out physicians are usually disillusioned with their work, finding they lack control in their environment or they’re being asked to do more with less time. Doctors question if those feelings can actually be changed as CEOs and boards focus on profits. “Some people are a little skeptical, and I can understand why. There are a lot of big factors at work that have led to this situation,” he said. “It’s incumbent upon me to convince them” that a CWO can effect change.

— Jonathan A. Ripp, MD, Senior Associate Dean, Well-Being and Resilience, Chief Wellness Officer, Associate Dean, Trainee Well-Being in Graduate Medical Education, Associate Professor, Medicine, General Internal Medicine, Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

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