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5 Ways Cleveland Clinic Boosts Physicians' Health

By Christopher Cheney  
   May 31, 2018

The health system's multipronged initiative promotes doctors' well-being.

Cleveland Clinic is expanding efforts to address physician burnout that the health system began a decade ago with a coaching and mentoring program.

Cleveland Clinic has not only launched new physician health initiatives but also adopted a new philosophy.

"We made a strategic decision when we started our efforts a couple years ago to focus on well-being rather than burnout. We prefer to focus on getting well and staying well," says Susan Rehm, MD, executive director of physician health at Cleveland Clinic.

Last year, internal engagement survey data shows modest but statistically significant improvement in several key measures for physician satisfaction at Cleveland Clinic. The data is represented on a scale of 0 to 5:

  • +.04 for engagement
  • +.03 for continuous improvement
  • +.04 for well-being
  • +.04 for trust
  • +.04 for communication

Financial impact?

Gauging the financial impact of the well-being programs is imprecise because it is difficult to assess turnover, says Rehm. Tracking physicians who leave the health system due to burnout is a work in progress, she says.

However, turnover prevention goes a long way financially, she says. "The literature suggests that turnover of a physician costs the organization somewhere between $250,000 and $500,000. It wouldn’t take too many retained doctors to completely pay for the programs."

Cleveland Clinic's well-being programs have been staffed internally, so costs have been low.


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Christopher Cheney is the senior clinical care​ editor at HealthLeaders.

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