Organizational leaders are recognizing the urgent need to mitigate clinician burnout. They face difficult choices, knowing that burnout threatens the quality and safety of care and the sustainability of their organizations. Creating cultures and system improvements that support the workforce and diminish burnout are vital leadership skills. The motivation to heal draws many health professionals to their chosen work. Further, research suggests that compassion creates a sense of personal reward and professional satisfaction. Although many organizations stress compassion in mission and vision statements, their strategies to enhance well-being largely ignore compassion as a source of joy and connection to purpose.
Passage of the HITECH (Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health) Act in 2009 and the Affordable Care Act in 2010 ushered in a new era in healthcare. Little is known about how changes in the healthcare delivery system related to these legislative milestones have influenced health professionals’ capacity to offer compassionate care. Further, advances such as artificial intelligence and virtual care modalities brought more attention to the elements that form the clinician–patient relationship.
This study analyzed the views of U.S. healthcare providers on the status of compassionate healthcare compared with 2010. Postulating that compassion is inversely correlated with burnout, we studied this relationship and contributing factors. Our review of evidence-based initiatives suggests that leaders must define the organizational conditions and implement processes that support professionals’ innate compassion and contribute to their well-being rather than address burnout later through remedial strategies.