How UCSF reduced physician burnout by 45%

The University of California San Francisco adopted four workflow changes, which ultimately reduced physician burnout by 45 percent, according to an American Medical Association post.

UCSF followed the AMA's STEPS Forward program, which offers innovative strategies to improve physician staff performance. Through the program, healthcare leaders can learn how to prevent physician burnout, create strong cultures and improve operations.

Prior to adopting new workflow changes, UCSF conducted a burnout survey within its general internal medicine department. Around 56 percent of physicians indicated that they felt burnout. This is much higher than the national average (33 percent.) When it came to stress, 88 percent of UCSF internal medicine physician said they felt it.

"Even before the changes led to a concrete improvement or change, and the physician or provider experience, just the fact that we're engaged in a change process can also improve morale and burnout because there's a sense that we're moving in the right direction," said Mitchell Feldman, MD, chief of the internal medicine division, according to the AMA.

By making the workflow changes, UCSF reduced burnout to 31 percent and stress to 63 percent. The four changes were:

  1. Call management: A system where patients resolve their phone calls on the first touch.
  2. Inbox management and coverage: Nurse practitioners were hired to check physicians' inboxes to see if patients needed assistance.
  3. Decompressed clinic schedules: Physicians were given added time for documentation and inbox management during the day.
  4. Share the care: New care team members took on responsibilities, such as agenda setting, to better operations.

To read the full report, click here.

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