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Oncology Team Well-Being

Mini-Z Survey Results

Results from Mini Z Burnout Survey

To gauge the level of burnout in the multidisciplinary cancer care team, ACCC recently surveyed its membership using the clinically validated Mini Z survey developed by the American Medical Association. While only a small number of respondents (14.9%) report dissatisfaction with their current job, burnout and stress levels are significant.
Download Survey Infographic

Cancer Buzz Podcast

Other ACCC Resources

ACCC Institute for the Future of Oncology


The sixth annual ACCC Institute held in Washington, D.C., on June 27, 2018, convened more than 30 experts in cancer care, wellness, and resiliency to share insights on what is fueling burnout among members of the cancer care team and what needs to happen on both on both a micro and macro level to support and improve team well-being. The day-long forum discussion focused on ACCC President Tom Gallo’s 2018-2019 presidential theme: Reflect, Renew, Reignite: Creating a Resilient Oncology Team in Your Community.
Read the Executive Summary

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Breaking Down Silos: Revenue Cycle Tiers Increase Efficiency and Reduce Waste
By Pamela R. Proman, MBA, RTT; William D. James, MHA; and Nancy H. Johnson, MSM


After a review of key performance indicators, including charge lag, month-end close, patient registration, and insurance identification and verification, this cancer program leveraged its EHR and billing data to identify actionable areas for improvement. Four primary impacts of silo mentality were identified: resource waste, incorrect denials, reduced cash flow, and increased risk for financial toxicity. Performance improvements were prioritized using a matrix to grade urgency and importance.
Read Article

 

Beyond Burnout

Tom Gallo, MS, MDA
President, Association of Community Cancer Centers
August 13, 2018
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Compass Pointing to Well-Being

A privilege of serving as ACCC President is selecting a theme for your term in office and then having the opportunity to bring together thought leaders and key stakeholders for an in-depth conversation to explore the issue and develop strategies to address it. On June 27, 2018, the sixth annual ACCC Institute for the Future of Oncology forum was held in Washington, D.C., for a conversation focused on my ACCC President’s theme “Reflect, Renew, Reignite: Creating a Resilient Oncology Team in Your Community.” During the half-day meeting, experts and leaders from within and outside of oncology participated in activities to spark creative thinking and dialogue, breaking into small groups to discuss two critical areas with great potential to impact resiliency and well-being: 1) organizational structure and culture and 2) practice efficiency and administrative burden.

While it’s difficult to convey the dynamic energy of the day’s discussion here, I can share some key takeaways:

  • Leaders must see well-being as a strategic initiative and fund it accordingly; they must prioritize a healthy workforce by investing in the necessary staff and infrastructure to meet this goal. Many organizations have created the executive level position of Chief Experience Officer to oversee the efforts for employee engagement and well-being as well as patient satisfaction. To be successful, organizations and individuals must make well-being a priority.
  • Although physician resiliency and burnout have garnered attention, there is a critical need to develop tools and resources for the entire cancer care team. The Cleveland Clinic has taken the step of defining every staff member who has contact with a patient as a caregiver. Each one of these team members can experience burnout.
  • Resilient, engaged cancer care teams provide better service and produce better outcomes for our patients.
  • Throughout the cancer care system, varying levels of burnout frequently exist. This is often manifested as physical fatigue, compassion fatigue, and emotional depletion.
  • Practices must normalize wellness and self-care by setting them as expectations and creating an environment where people feel safe to show vulnerability.
  • Trusting leadership and believing in organizational values are essential to a healthy workforce. It is critical to create a culture of trust where staff knows there will be follow-up for concerns and issues.
  • When designing wellness interventions, cancer programs and practices should include team members from all levels of the organization rather than developing a top-down strategy and imposing it on staff.
  • There must be acknowledgement that there are some drivers of burnout that individuals and organizations cannot change; thus, there should be a focus on those areas where individuals and organizations can have an impact.

The Institute meeting is just the initial step in the Association’s year-long effort to develop tools and resources to support wellness and resiliency for every member of the multidisciplinary cancer team. Over the next few months, we will:

  • Construct a burnout measure specifically for cancer care team members, adapted from an existing validated tool
  • Develop a web-based repository of oncology-specific tools related to burnout, resiliency, and well-being
  • Create a resource for building and articulating the business case for improving the well-being of the cancer care team.

To enrich our offerings, we are asking ACCC members to share their experiences working toward improving the resiliency and well-being of cancer program staff. What sort of programs have you tried? Were these focused on the individual, program, or hospital- or health-system level? What worked? What were your challenges? How did you measure improvement? Please send a short description of your efforts—including any tools or resources you’d like to share with others—to mmarino@accc-cancer.org. And keep in touch. Improving the well-being of the cancer care team is important work that we must do together. Our colleagues and our patients deserve nothing less.

Tom Gallo, MS, MDA, ACCC President 2018-2019, is Executive Director of the Virginia Cancer Institute. 

From Oncology Issues

  •  Can You Hear Me Now?
    Kimberly Smith, MPHA
    After integrating voice recognition software with its EMR, Mount Sinai Health System reduced physician workload, improved patient care, and streamlined clinic workflow. Physicians and staff shared that this process improvement initiative also improved their well-being, freeing clinicians up to spend more time doing what they want to do—caring for patients.
  •  Caring for the Caregiver
    April Alexander, MSW, LCSW, OSW-C, et al.
    A holistic Self-Care and Resiliency Program for Oncology Professionals has helped to decrease oncology staff burnout rates. Key components include Patient Remembrance Ceremonies, staff support groups, educational opportunities, and social events.
  •  Breaking Down Silos
    Pamela R. Proman, MBA, RTT, et al.
    Using its EHR and billing data to examine key metrics—including charge lag, patient registration, and insurance verification—the Nancy N. and J. C. Lewis Cancer & Research Pavilion at St. Joseph’s/Candler identified four key effects of the “silo mentality” on its cancer program. Focusing on efficiency and urgency, the program broke down its silos, reducing waste and incorrect denials, improving cash flow, and alleviating patient—and program—financial toxicity.
  •  Utilizing Scribes to Improve Patient-Centered Care and Efficiency and Reduce Burnout
    By Amy Hindman
    More oncology programs across the country are hiring scribes in their practices to improve patient-centered care, reduce physician burnout, and create administrative efficiencies.
  •  Caring for the Caregiver
    By ACCC Editorial Staff
    Dr. Farley directs Christiana Care Health System’s strategy to promote the professional fulfillment and personal well-being of its caregivers—and, subsequently, its patients.
  •  Burnout Prevention & Education
    By Monique Dawkins, EDD, MPA, et al.
    Being aware of how burnout manifests itself can help supervisors and staff identify the condition early.
  • Small in Stature, Large in Impact
    By ACCC Editorial Staff
    Caring for patients with cancer is inherently stressful, but many cancer team members say that their difficulties go beyond the expected emotional strain. Robin Hearne, RN, MS, director of Cancer Services and Chronic Disease Care at The Outer Banks Hospital, elaborates on the burdens of bureaucracy and shares the programs she’s developed to provide staff with necessary tools for patient and self-care.
  • Removing the Blame from Burnout
    ACCC Editorial Staff
    Burnout among U.S. healthcare clinicians is a national concern, and cancer care is no exception. To gauge the level of burnout in the cancer care team, ACCC surveyed its membership and created a hub for team well-being resources.
  • One Best Practice: Streamlining Workflow, Unifying Staff, and Reducing Redundancy
    Elizabeth Koelker, MHA, FACHE
    When Kettering Health Network reorganized its operations by service lines, oncology had major problems—internal competition, communication deficits, inefficiencies, and a lack of infrastructure. Learn how Kettering united its oncology staff under “one best practice,” streamlined operations, increased patient volume, and decreased internal competition.
  • Turning Off Turnover
    Tom Gallo, MS, MDA
    Though stemming burnout at the source is vital work, it is also important to recognize and alleviate symptoms as they appear. One such symptom is decreased workforce retention.

Burnout is on the rise as oncology becomes increasingly complex with new treatment options, growing financial toxicity, an aging patient population, and an increasingly burdensome healthcare system. It has received much media attention, with some calling it an epidemic.

Thomas A. Gallo, MS, MDA, ACCC President, selected his 2018–2019 president’s theme: Reflect, Renew, Reignite: Creating a Resilient Oncology Team in Your Community, in order to shed light on the pain points that frustrate physicians, nurses, social workers, administrators, pharmacists, and all of the other professionals who collaborate to provide the highest level of patient care.

The ACCC 35th National Oncology Conference, October 17 – 19, in Phoenix, AZ, featured stories and strategies for fostering resilience and a healthcare culture that mitigates burnout among all members of the cancer care team. Three featured speakers inspired while providing practical strategies to help increase engagement, transform your work culture, and embrace experimentation. 

6 essential standards for a healthy work environment

ACCC is committed to identifying shared strategies and solutions to help combat the burnout and frustration that many of its members experience. This Building a Resilient Oncology Team: Issues and Solutions infographic details key findings on clinician burnout and a bevy of solutions to help you mitigate stress and bring the joy back to your workplace. 
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