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Physician-Organization Collaboration Reduces Physician Burnout and Promotes Engagement: The Mayo Clinic Experience

Swensen, Stephen MD; Kabcenell, Andrea RN; Shanafelt, Tait MD


EXECUTIVE SUMMARY The process of creating healthy organization-physician relationships is critical to organizational success. Partnerships in process improvement can nurture these relationships and mitigate burnout by meeting physicians’ psychological needs. To flourish, physicians need some degree of choice (control over their lives), camaraderie (social connectedness), and an opportunity for excellence (being part of something meaningful). Organizations can provide these opportunities by establishing constructive organization-physician relationships and developing physician leaders. We present a case study from the Mayo Clinic that supports the foundational principles of a physician-engagement model.

We developed the Listen-Act-Develop model as an integrated strategy to reduce burnout and engage physicians in the mission of the organization. The intent of the model is to maximize physician wellness by fostering engagement and mitigating the drivers of burnout. This model provides a path to increase physician satisfaction and meaning in work and to improve organizational effectiveness.

Stephen Swensen, MD, medical director, Office of Leadership and Organization Development, and professor of radiology, Mayo Medical School, Rochester, Minnesota; Andrea Kabcenell, RN, vice president, Institute for Healthcare Improvement, Cambridge, Massachusetts; and Tait Shanafelt, MD, director, Program on Physician Well-being, professor of medicine, Mayo Medical School, and president, Mayo Clinic Staff, Rochester

For more information about the concepts in this article, contact Dr. Swensen at

© 2016 Foundation of the American College of Healthcare Executives
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