Physician Health

3 priorities mark Sanford Health’s proactive approach to burnout


Kevin B. O'Reilly

Senior News Editor

U.S. health systems aspiring to help put a dent in the all-time high rate of physician burnout must ensure they have a “cohesive strategy” in place, according to Luis Garcia, MD.

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Dr. Garcia is president of Sioux Falls, South Dakota-based Sanford Health, which is a member of the AMA Health System Program that provides enterprise solutions to equip leadership, physicians and care teams with resources to help drive the future of medicine.

"At Sanford, the programmatic structure to support clinician well-being was fragmented," Dr. Garcia said during a recent Becker’s Hospital Review webinar in which he emphasized a proactive approach to improving physician well-being.

"Once you get to burnout, you have lost a valuable window of opportunity. We should be acting before someone gets to that point," Dr. Garcia added. "Research shows that if you act on the negative, your system is becoming reactionary. A better approach is to focus on a culture of positivism and proactiveness."

According to Dr. Garcia, there are five dimensions of well-being for physicians and other employees. They are:

  • Mental and emotional support.
  • Sense of purpose.
  • Personal support.
  • Financial health.
  • Meaningful connections.

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Read this in-depth Q&A with Dr. Garcia about meeting doctors at each career stage to promote well-being.

In the Becker’s webinar (available to view on demand), Dr. Garcia outlined these three well-being priorities that Dr. Garcia and his colleagues have pursued at Sanford Health, which has earned a spot in the Joy in Medicine™ Health System Recognition Program.

"These priorities are designed to target clinicians in the first two years of practice to make sure they adapt to our culture," Dr. Garcia said. "In addition to the new provider orientation, all clinicians go through a three-month onboarding program and are paired with a mentor."

Examples include an assistance program for physicians and other clinicians, internal coaches and a clinician-wellness counsel.

"These are designed to support established clinicians and provide support in a confidential manner, free of charge," Dr. Garcia said.

Related Coverage

What really drives doctor burnout and how to fix it

"We want to create programs that allow for succession planning and identify rising stars and support them in their leadership development," he said.

Find out more about how Sanford Health draws physician talent by helping doctors excel as leaders and how it is building well-being into its culture.

The AMA Health System Program partners with your leadership to tailor solutions to allow you to maximize support for your physicians and care teams.

Learn more with the AMA Health System Program about how to:

  • Improve physician well-being.
  • Amplify the voices of your physicians.
  • Effectively measure and benchmark burnout levels.
  • Take action with tailored workshops and coaching sessions.
  • Accurately evaluate progress.

Reducing physician burnout is a critical component of the AMA Recovery Plan for America’s Physicians.
Far too many American physicians experience burnout. That's why the AMA develops resources that prioritize well-being and highlight workflow changes so physicians can focus on what matters—patient care.

Table of Contents

  1. Engagement
  2. Resiliency
  3. Leadership