Wisconsin Medical Society Foundation

Grant Details

Organization Type Medical Society Foundation Categories Physician Leadership
Grant Size $150,000 Year 2017 State Wisconsin

Leading Healthy Work Systems

Leading Healthy Work Systems (LHWS) will bring physicians from Wisconsin together in peer cohorts to learn a systems approach to leadership. A systems model provides a framework for leaders to understand the interdependencies between the:

  1. Person (e.g. skills, abilities, motivations, behaviors)
  2. Task (e.g. job demands, content)
  3. Technology (e.g. requirements, rate of change)
  4. Environmental (e.g. physical surroundings, social dynamics)
  5. Organization (e.g. policies, reward structures, culture).

There will be four components to LHWS: fundamental cohorts, a system-specific cohort, Leadership Summits and a physician satisfaction survey.  Addressing physician burnout and exploring methods to drive sustainable change is consistent in all four components. We propose running two fundamental cohorts (fall of 2018 and 2019) using the content developed for groups of physician participants from different health systems. In addition, we would offer a system-specific cohort either in the spring/summer of 2019 held on-site at a system and customized to meet their physician experience needs. Each cohort would take approximately 15 leaders through a program consisting of 15 hours of face-to-face facilitation and additional readings in between sessions. The sessions will center on the design and leadership of healthy work at three levels: system, self and inter-professional teams. The progression from system to self to team will enable participants to integrate the research findings into their own daily experiences and then outwardly to how they collaborate with colleagues.The content can be summarized as follows:

  1. Systems – The complex interdependencies between physicians’ skills, desires and needs with the tasks they are asked to perform, the technologies they use, the environments in which they work (physical and social) and the organization’s policies, reward system and culture.
  2. Self – Physicians are members of a high burnout occupation, and factors influencing physician satisfaction are shared by professionals in a wide variety of settings. The program will help physicians reconnect to their original intentions in choosing a medical career.
  3. Inter-professional Teams – Physicians increasingly work with other professionals in team-based care. Physician leaders who exhibit an inclusive leadership style are more likely to create a psychologically safe environment where team members meaningfully engage and feel comfortable speaking up about errors, offering suggestions for improvement and contribute to team learning.

In addition, semi-annual Leadership Summits of health care organization leaders and other stakeholders from across the state will be convened to enable sharing and learning about approaches to addressing physician satisfaction.  Finally, a physician satisfaction survey would be deployed twice over the grant period to inform health system leadership about the relevance and need for this type of education.