Richard Isaacs, MD, discusses physician burnout strategy at Becker’s Healthcare event

During a recent Becker’s Healthcare Clinical Leadership + Pharmacy Virtual panel, “Candid Conversations: Tips for Combatting Clinician Burnout and Elevating Morale,” Richard S. Isaacs, MD, FACS, said The Permanente Medical Group turned to its Joy and Meaning in Medicine (JAMM) strategy to help address physician and patient needs during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Headshot of Richard Isaacs, MD
Richard S. Isaacs, MD, FACS

JAMM provides a strategic framework that prioritizes culture, practice support, and personal wellness, said Dr. Isaacs, CEO and executive director of The Permanente Medical Group in Northern California. “It’s really about engaging people, who are closest to the work, listening to their ideas, their concerns, and empowering them to help solve problems … It creates psychological safety, and it makes for an environment of empowerment and innovation.”

“In terms of practice support,” he added, “we’ve been working towards leveraging technology and bringing in the resources to help physicians practice at the top of their license by surrounding them by folks who are practicing at the top of theirs.”

Dr. Isaacs, who also serves as president and CEO of the Mid-Atlantic Permanente Medical Group and co-CEO of The Permanente Federation, said that during the pandemic, “We had to very quickly pivot and provide tools to support our practice because here in Northern California and also in the Mid-Atlantic states, we were dealing with incredible demand for services while also dealing with local and state mandates of sheltering in place, so our patients couldn’t get care.”

Physicians received additional practice support via a website that provided nearly daily relevant updates to help physicians manage COVID-19 disease and the challenges their patients were facing.

To assist with personal health and wellness, Dr. Isaacs said, “We mobilized support systems and resources that attend to professional, social, emotional health, personal health, and safety.”

Expanded resources to help physicians care for themselves and their families included a 24/7 support line and virtual mindful medicine programs. In addition, Dr. Isaacs said, “We have very strong peer support programs that are just part of what we do.”

Note: To view the entire panel, visit the Becker’s Healthcare Clinical Leadership + Pharmacy Virtual Event website (registration required).