- Health care delivery organizations are positioned to have a tremendous impact on addressing the variables in the practice environment that contribute to occupational distress and that, when optimized, can promote clinician well-being. Many organizations are committed to this work and have clarity on how to address general, system-wide issues and provide resources for individual clinicians. While such top of the organization elements are essential for success, many of the specific improvement efforts that are necessary must address local challenges at the work unit level (department, division, hospital ward, clinic).
- Although awareness of the importance of physician well-being has increased in recent years, the research that defined this issue, identified the contributing factors, and provided evidence on effective individual and system-level solutions has been maturing for several decades. During this interval, the field has evolved through several phases, each influenced not only by an expanding research base but also by changes in the demographic characteristics of the physician workforce and the evolution of the health care delivery system.
- The past decade has been a time of great change for US physicians. Many physicians feel that the care delivery system has become a barrier to providing high-quality care rather than facilitating it. Although physician distress and some of the contributing factors are now widely recognized, much of the distress physicians are experiencing is related to insidious issues affecting the cultures of our profession, our health care organizations, and the health care delivery system. Culture refers to the shared and fundamental beliefs of a group that are so widely accepted that they are implicit and often no longer recognized.