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Triple Aim Should Be Expanded to Address Physician Burnout

Provider burnout linked to lower patient satisfaction, reduced health outcomes; may increase costs

FRIDAY, Nov. 14, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Expanding the Triple Aim approach -- which includes enhancing patient experience, improving population health, and reducing costs -- to the Quadruple Aim by adding the goal of improving health care provider work life is recommended, according to the authors of an article published in the November/December issue of the Annals of Family Medicine.

Thomas Bodenheimer, M.D., from the University of California at San Francisco, and Christine Sinsky, M.D., from Medical Associates Clinic and Health Plan in Dubuque, Iowa, discuss the impact of burnout and dissatisfaction in relation to the Triple Aim.

Noting that burnout correlates with lower patient satisfaction and reduced health outcomes, and may increase costs thereby imperiling the Triple Aim, the researchers discuss expansion to a Quadruple Aim, adding the goal of improving health care provider work life. Increased burnout has been seen in practices working towards Triple Aim performance. Addressing clinician satisfaction has been associated with improvement in Triple Aim measures.

"The positive engagement, rather than the negative frustration, of the health care workforce is of paramount importance in achieving the primary goal of the Triple Aim -- improving population health," the authors write. "Leaders and providers of health care should consider adding a fourth dimension -- improving the work life of those who deliver care -- to the compass points of better care, better health, and lower costs."

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