Initiative at Truman Medical Centers Champions Physician Well-Being

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It was fortunate timing when Truman Medical Centers decided to ramp up its physician wellness efforts in late 2019, just before the COVID-19 pandemic began spreading. A Wellness Committee consisting primarily of faculty physicians was formed with the charge of addressing issues affecting physician wellness.

Srikala Subramanian, MD, committee chair and associate professor of emergency medicine, explained its purpose: “As an organization, we are setting out several goals to address physician wellness, including creating positive work environments, reducing tasks that do not improve patient care, making electronic health records and other technology easier to use and more relevant, reducing stigma and improving burnout recovery services.”

The committee’s first task this spring was to administer among faculty the Well-Being Index, an assessment tool designed by the Mayo Clinic and now used across the nation. After answering the nine questions in the index, individuals immediately receive their individualized score along with information on how their level of well-being compares to others. It also flags whether the individual is at risk for potentially serious distress. Participants can repeat the assessment over time and track their progress. Individuals can be directed to local and national resources that can help promote well-being.

“The well-being of health care professionals has been pushed to the forefront during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Dr. Subramanian said. “The pandemic has shined a spotlight on the toll of a physician’s job and driven concerns to a new level.”

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