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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


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


ACCC National Oncology Conference Takeaway—You’ve Got the Power!

Amanda Patton, ACCC Communications
October 22, 2018
What-Brings-You-Joy-at-Work-Word Cloud

Do the following statements sound familiar?

Oncology is the most rapidly changing specialty in healthcare.

We are in the midst of unprecedented change and turbulence in the U.S. healthcare system.

Burnout is a critical issue in healthcare, and it’s especially worrisome in oncology where workforce shortages—and increased demand for services—are anticipated.

Feeling stressed?

If you attended the ACCC 35th National Oncology Conference last week, chances are your answer will be: “Yes, I feel stressed, but I’m not stressed out.

NOC18-attendees-in-sessionAcross the conference sessions—from featured speakers Vicki Hess, RN, MS, Employee Engagement Solutions, LLC; Julie Oehlert, DNP, Vidant Health; and Dale Dauten, The Innovators' Lab® ; to the 2018 ACCC Innovator Award presentations and “how-to” sessions spotlighting how cancer programs are actively improving patient-centered care delivery—speakers highlighted the many ways that the patient experience and the cancer team’s professional experience are interconnected.


Reflect. Renew. Reignite.
On Thursday morning, Oct. 18, ACCC Secretary Krista Nelson, MSW, LCSW, OSW-C, BCD, opened the conference by leading hundreds of attendees in a guided mindfulness moment, setting the stage for messages of: engagement, empowerment, disrupting the status quo, daring to suggest new possibilities and share new perspectives, and expressing appreciation, throughout the conference.

NOC18-Vicki-HessOpening speaker Vicki Hess challenged attendees to imagine working in a “professional paradise.” As an antidote to burnout, Hess reminded attendees, “Sometimes you need to fill your own cup and coming to this ACCC National Oncology Conference is one way to do it!”


Don’t Burn Out, Power Up!
“Does your staff feel satisfied, energized, and productive at work?” Hess asked.

When cancer care teams are operating at peak performance, making a difference to patients, “most of the time it’s not due to clinical skills alone,” Hess said, “it’s the bigger picture.” What’s needed to support optimal teamwork is a three-way partnership among individuals, leadership, and the healthcare organization. “The more empowered employees feel, the more they can create a professional paradise.”

For individuals, empowerment starts with understanding that you have choices in how you respond to frustrating, overwhelming, stressful situations (or colleagues) in the workplace. A mindful approach and exercising your power to choose how you respond will boost your resilience, rather than drain your energy, according to Hess. 

For example, when a staff member or colleague complains, engage them with empathy, “I hear we have a problem.” Then ask, “What would the organization need to do to fix it? What would you like me to do? What’s your role?”

Hess suggests the following steps may bolster your workplace resiliency:

  • Lose the attitude. Don’t hold on to frustrations.
  • Encourage chronic complainers to step up and get involved.
  • Don’t take things personally.
  • Spread appreciation. Shared appreciation brings bi-directional benefits. You feel good when you express appreciation and also when you’re on the receiving end.
  • Embody gratitude.
  • Take a breath before responding.

For organizational change, Hess notes that the following are important prerequisites for moving toward a culture of empowerment:

  • Gain consensus about what is acceptable at work and what is not
  • Build trust
  • Get feedback
  • Hold staff accountable for being engaged
  • And remember: How you define a problem is also how you define the solution.

Stay tuned for more highlights from the ACCC 35th National Oncology Conference.

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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