Blue Cross Chief Medical Officer Participated in National Release of Report
BATON ROUGE – On Wednesday, Oct. 23, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer Vindell Washington, M.D., participated in the public release of a National Academy of Medicine report titled “Taking Action Against Clinician Burnout: A Systems Approach to Professional Well-Being.”
More details from the press release:
Washington was one of six members of the 17-member committee who spoke at the report release event in Washington, D.C., at the National Academies of Sciences. Washington was the only health insurance representative on this committee, which looked at ways to reduce burnout – defined as emotional exhaustion, depersonalization and loss of a sense of professional efficacy – among clinical professionals.
“It’s hard to get better care, better health outcomes and lower costs when the people providing the care are burned out,” Washington said. “Studies show that one third up to one half of clinicians experience burnout, and the numbers are even higher for people in medical school. This tells us burnout is a system-wide problem, not a problem with individuals, and all stakeholders must get involved in solutions.”
The report offered six main goals to lower burnout and enhance clinicians’ sense of professional well-being. At the report release event, Washington addressed the goals related to reducing clinicians’ administrative burdens, and taking advantage of technology to address processes and work against burnout.
“If we really want to change the system, we need to change the way care is delivered and paid for, and this is where insurance can play a key role in fighting against clinician burnout,” Washington said. He gave the example of an increase in value-based care programs, such as Blue Cross’ Quality Blue programs. These programs reimburse healthcare providers for taking steps to coordinate care and keep their patients healthy, rather than fee-for-service programs that reimburse based on how many treatments or tests are provided.
The committee spent 18 months studying different elements of clinician training and the day-to-day work environment that lead to burnout. Their report includes formally recommended interventions to address these. The report also suggests a research agenda for future study of these areas.
More information about the committee and its work is available at NAM.edu/clinicianwellbeingstudy.
Dr. Washington describes the committee’s work and impact of their report in this video.