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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


Changes Ahead? Resilience Helps Make the Leap

March 07, 2019
Fish escape to freedom concept

When Kathleen LaRaia led the consolidation of Munson Healthcare’s 15 cancer care departments into a comprehensive community cancer center, she knew she had her work cut out for her. “The workplace and cultural environment were going to change significantly,” says LaRaia, MS, Executive Director of Oncology Services at Munson in Traverse City, Michigan. “We had to determine how to help staff members best accept the upcoming changes.”

But when planning for the transition, LaRaia didn’t fully recognize just how much foundation-laying she had to do. When she held the first of two information sessions for the 160 staff members who would be relocating to the new cancer center, she took note of employees’ perplexed expressions as they entered the room. “They didn’t recognize anyone,” says LaRaia. “I saw the siloed mindset that they had developed. They didn’t know who else was involved in taking care of their patients. I didn’t expect that.”

Bringing into one building all of the individuals involved in the many facets of oncology care at Munson required LaRaia to take into account the importance of promoting cultural resiliency when planning for large-scale institutional change. On Friday, March 22, LaRaia will share her story about the creation of Munson Healthcare’s comprehensive community cancer care center at the Clinician Resiliency and Workforce Issues Workshop, part of the ACCC 45th Annual Meeting & Cancer Center Business Summit in Washington, D.C.  Here is a preview of some of the lessons learned that she will be discussing.

  • Spot the opportunities: When she saw the confused faces of Munson’s oncology staff at that first information session, LaRaia sensed an opportunity. “This was a chance to build relationships,” she says. Munson Healthcare’s oncology clinicians and support staff were scattered in multiple counties throughout Michigan. LaRaia had one year before all of those people would be working under the same roof.


  • Empower staff to lead: LaRaia resolved to enable staff members to take the lead in their own consolidation and work together to make the transition as smooth and efficient as possible. LaRaia says she felt those directly affected by the move were best positioned to answer the big question the new cancer center posed: How do you get a large group of people long acclimated to specific cultures and different environments prepared for new ways of doing things?


  • Reduce fear of change by engaging staff in the process: “In examining how to approach this project, we identified more fear than excitement about the upcoming change,” recalls LaRaia. “So we spent a full year planning with people from each group that was transitioning. We got them involved in the process, and we assembled topical work groups to keep people engaged.”


  • Create a feedback loop: LaRaia started holding events that focused on relationship-building, and she worked with staff volunteers to create workflow processes for the new center. A transition monitoring team regularly met with designated staff members from each department and communicated regular updates to their colleagues. “Empathy workshops” invited staff to share their trepidations about the changes to come and suggest practical solutions.

Three years after cutting the ribbon on Munson’s consolidated cancer center, LaRaia has collected a wealth of best practices to share. At her Deep Dive Workshop, she will address how the lessons learned at Munson can apply to other organizations facing significant cultural shifts. “There is no textbook for doing this,” says LaRaia. “You have to learn to confront issues as they arise.”

From Oncology Issues

  •  How to Combat a Virus
    Jennie Crews, MD, MMM, FACP
  •  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.

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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