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Background and Aims Over 50% of physicians in the U.S. experience burnout. Burnout is one of the leading causes of reducing workload or leaving medicine altogether. Flexibility can mean flexible work places and/or flexible work times. Flexibility has been shown to help reduce burnout. A recent article revealed that up to 1/3 of newly graduated physicians ranks flexibility as more important than salary. Thus, it is important not only for physician retention, but also recruitment. We designed and implemented an 8 week pilot in an outpatient pain management practice to evaluate the feasibility of a flexible template. Staff were surveyed before and after the pilot.
Methods An 8 week pilot was designed to alter work templates. Physicians could treat patients one hour earlier or one hour later than the typical start times. They could also see patients over the lunch hour. For some, this resulted in being finished with their work day 2-3 hours earlier than normal. Each physician was allowed to modify their template on the non-teaching procedure calendar only. Surveys were distributed to nursing staff, scheduling staff, and physicians before and after the 8-week pilot.
Results 1. There was no decline in productivity 2. There was no decline in patient experience/quality 3. There was a large increase in physician satisfaction. 4. Physicians reported improvement in self care and wellness
Conclusions Flexible templates are rarely used in the United States in academic settings. We showed that an interventional pain practice could successfully apply a flexible schedule without affecting productivity or quality of care.
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