AAFP unveils Physician Health First at General Session

Wednesday's opening General Session served as the official launch for the AAFP's new Physician Health First (PHF) initiative—a program devoted to reversing the trend toward physician burnout by improving family physician well-being and professional satisfaction.

Some attendees got a look at the new initiative on Tuesday afternoon at the PHF booth in the Hub. The booth will remain open throughout FMX. AAFP Senior Vice President for Education, Clif Knight, MD, CPE, FAAFP, gave the thousands gathered at Wednesday's General Session more details about the multiple components that make up the wide-reaching AAFP endeavor. That effort features a new web portal built to house various well-being resources and CME sessions focused on physician well-being, along with a new well-being conference to be held in April.

Physician burnout is at an all-time high. The AAFP has heard the frustrations of its members, Knight said. With that in mind, the Academy has made improving family physician well-being a strategic goal.

The PHF initiative is attacking the problem from a different angle. Member surveys, along with Knight's own discussions with family physicians, found systemic issues such as billing and coding, inefficient care practices, medical school debt, and work/ family scheduling pressures cause much of the burnout.

“We heard you say, 'Stop trying to fix me' and instead, 'Fix the system and help me thrive,'" Knight told the General Session audience. “Let me assure you, without a doubt, the AAFP is focused every day on fixing our broken and dysfunctional health system." To address the systemic issue, the AAFP is charging ahead with efforts to assist members with their well-being and professional satisfaction on an individual level.

The Physician Health First web portal (www.aafp .org/mywellbeing) is designed to inspire, energize, and motivate family physicians to make positive changes. The portal will serve as the main entry point to easy-to-access content and resources focused on helping family physicians achieve optimal well-being. Knight saluted the support of members through the AAFP Foundation contributions that made the project a reality.

The PHF booth (in The Hub) allows attendees to explore the web portal and also offers visitors the chance to connect, interact, and recharge. While there, you can take the Maslach Burnout Inventory and unwind in a CompHealth-sponsored self-care chair while getting a free neck and shoulder massage. The AAFP and Medscape are also collaborating on video presentations in the booth's Health First Theater.

The booth has the latest information on the upcoming inaugural AAFP Family Physician Health and Well-being Conference 2018. The conference takes place April 18-21 at Naples Grand Beach Resort in Florida.

“The conference is going to be one of support and connection," said Mark Greenawald, MD, FAAFP, conference chair, in an interview before FMX. “At many conferences, physicians are traveling through as individuals. Our goal is that they leave this meeting not only with a personal and professional well-being plan for themselves, but also a community of connections so they can be supported as they continue to travel this well-being journey, as well as support from the Academy."

Organizers have designed practical, hands-on, interactive workshops for the April event focused on improving family physician well-being and professional satisfaction. The intent is for participants to leave having mastered, or at least having begun to grasp, skill sets directly related to practicing well-being.

Tracks will focus on individual resilience, practice improvement, and organizational influence, and attendees can attend any session they choose, regardless of track. Opportunities exist outside of the workshops designed to expand participants' knowledge in areas such as mindfulness, yoga, and other relaxation techniques, for example.

Register at aafp.org/FPWB by Sept. 30 and use code PWB18FMX to save $100.

During Wednesday's General Session, Knight said he understands that many family physicians feel selfish by putting their own well-being ahead of their patients' needs. But focused family physicians are indispensable, and strong doctors need to put themselves first.

“I promise, your patients, your practice, and your families will thank you for it," he said.

The well-being theme continued with the session keynote, delivered by integrative medicine expert Deepak Chopra, MD. Chopra, a clinical professor at the University of California, San Diego, Medical School, as well as a researcher, neurology and psychiatry, at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, talked about a new approach to well-being developed from the latest findings from both mainstream and alternative medicine.

For a complete recap of Chopra's talk, go to fmxdailyexperience.org now or see Friday's Daily Experience.

Well-being Wall (pictured above)
This year’s experiential project—sponsored by Medscape—asks you to share what makes you stronger. Share your source of strength when you visit the Physician Well-being booth. You’ll get your picture taken while holding your statement. That image will join thousands of others in a mosaic that will be unveiled during Friday morning’s General Session.