UCHealth has earned gold-level recognition from the American Medical Association as a Joy in Medicine™ organization. The prestigious AMA distinction is granted only to organizations that attest to the rigorous criteria of the Joy in Medicine™ Health System Recognition Program and demonstrate a commitment to preserving the wellbeing of clinical care team members through proven efforts to combat work-related stress and burnout.

“We are very honored to have been recognized by the AMA with this award,” said Margaret Reidy, MD, chief medical officer for UCHealth. “Our partners in HR, Security, Informatics, IT and Quality, among many others, have helped in this work.”

Burnout rates among the nation’s physicians and other health care professionals spiked dramatically as the COVID-19 pandemic placed acute stress on care teams and exacerbated long-standing system issues. The lingering impact of work-related burnout remains an obstacle to achieving national health goals.

“Health care organizations that have earned recognition from the AMA’s Joy in Medicine Health System Recognition Program are leading a national movement that has declared the wellbeing of health professionals to be an essential element for providing high-quality care to patients, families and communities,” said Jesse M. Ehrenfeld, MD, AMA president. “Each Joy in Medicine recognized organization is distinguished as among the nation’s best at creating a culture of wellness that makes a difference in the lives of clinical care teams.”

In 2020, UCHealth unveiled the Professional Fulfillment Model as the framework to develop resources and programs that support the behavioral health and wellbeing of every UCHealth team member.

A few examples of this work include:

  • First Call, a free 24/7 support call line available to every employee
  • Workplace safety efforts, including resources to address and prevent workplace violence, like the SAFE initiative and new visitor management systems
  • Initiatives to cultivate an environment of mutual respect, such as Unconscious Bias training, Being an Upstander training, Just Culture approach to HR and Peer Review situations, and I Need Clarity as a safety phrase
  • Diversified modes of communication to effectively cascade news, including streamlined email channels, launch of new podcasts and the development of the Physician and APP Advisory Council
  • Epic sprints to evaluate and improve EHR and workflows
  • In Basket redesign for workflow efficiency
  • System-wide physician and APP orientation
  • Peer support program for physicians, APPs and nurses
  • Individual coaching program that has reduced burnout for participants by 29 percent relatively

“We have much more to do in this space,” said Dr. Reidy. "We recognize that clinician wellbeing is essential to the quality of care we provide and we are committed to continuing this work.”

Since its inception in 2019, the Joy in Medicine™ Health System Recognition Program has recognized more than 100 organizations across the country. In 2023, a total of 72 health systems nationwide earned recognition with documented efforts to reduce system-level drivers of work-related burnout and demonstrated competencies in commitment, assessment, leadership, efficiency of practice environment, teamwork and support.

Categories: Communications, Colorado Medicine, ASAP