The Colorado Permanente Medical Group (CPMG) is known for innovation in health care delivery, using a team approach to care for 645,000 Kaiser Permanente Colorado members each year. With nearly 1,200 physicians, CPMG is one of the state’s largest multispecialty groups and a physician-led practice. So it comes as no surprise that they are on the forefront of physician wellness or, their preferred terminology, joy in work.

It began with a small group of CPMG physicians realizing that CPMG’s wellness challenges and needs were unique. Together, they created the CPMG Wellness Committee in 2013. In 2017, CPMG created a dedicated role for a wellness director. Lise Barbour, MD, assumed this role; she is accountable for wellness activities and integrating wellness with human resources programming.

Concurrently the CPMG Board of Directors committed to filtering all decisions through the “quadruple aim:” improving the health of populations, enhancing the experience of care for individuals, reducing the per capita cost of health care, and improving the work-life balance of health care providers.

Most of CPMG’s wellness work is a combination of encouraging individual wellbeing and seeking to create a culture of wellness with systemwide programs, keeping joy in work as a primary focus. In 2019, CPMG’s wellness work includes recognizing physicians for excellent work, engaging physicians at community events, celebrating Kaiser Permanente Colorado’s 50th anniversary, and investing in leadership development. Peer recognition has been streamlined with the invention of “ColoRADograms” – a virtual thank-you note that any physician can send to their colleagues, which also is shared with each colleague’s supervisor. These are especially important internal initiatives in a time that Kaiser Permanente Colorado is working to better meet patients’ demands for accessible and affordable care.

On the organizational level, CPMG’s focus is on supporting adequate staffing and administrative resources that allow physicians to provide high-quality care to patients. Stephen Haley, MD, CPMG’s vice president and chief medical informatics officer, has set a team goal of creating physician time in the work day for “what matters most.” His Department of Medical Informatics coordinates Clinical IT Efficiency (CITE) workshops to help doctors become more efficient at Electronic Medical Record (EMR) technology. And CPMG continues to measure physician joy in work with a twice-yearly engagement survey.

Though CPMG is unique in many ways, other organizations looking to implement a wellness program may consider the broad blueprint of their experience to enhance physician joy in work.

Categories: Communications, Colorado Medicine, Resources, Initiatives, Physician Wellness