• Peer Coaching: Impacts on Physician Well Being: New Data and Existing Evidence

      Ferron, Liz; Shannon, Diane W. (Vital Work Life, 2021)
      Physicians today are not thriving. Numerous national studies have demonstrated rates of burnout upwards of 50 percent. Suicide rates among physicians are twice that of the general population. The COVID-19 pandemic has intensified the stress, overwhelm and moral injury many physicians experience as part of their working life. The well being of the physician workforce has profound implications for healthcare organizations. Physicians who report higher levels of burnout are more likely to reduce their work hours and are twice as likely to leave their organization within the subsequent two years. In addition, decreases in productivity and reductions in clinical hours can directly affect patient care revenue from reductions in procedures and referrals. Replacing physicians who have left is expensive, with estimates of $500,000 up to $1 million for recruitment, onboarding and reduced productivity while a new physician gets up to speed. Given there is a projected physician deficit, possibly as high as 86,000 physicians by 2033, attracting new physicians is projected to become more difficult and costly in future years. Maintaining the health and well being of physicians is critical. Full engagement of physicians in meeting the performance goals of the organization is unlikely if they are experiencing emotional exhaustion, depersonalization or other symptoms of stress and burnout. It is impossible if they have left the organization for a more appealing position or have chosen to leave practice entirely. In addition, because physicians are key revenue generators in most healthcare organizations, their ability to engage and work at their full potential has direct financial consequences. Peer coaching is emerging as an effective solution for improving physician well being. This paper will describe the existing evidence base and new data from VITAL WorkLife that demonstrate the impact of peer coaching in supporting physician well being.