AAFP Rolls Out New Well-being Assessment Tool

September 23, 2019 11:55 am Michael Devitt

The Academy's Physician Health First initiative, which debuted in September 2017 to improve the well-being and professional satisfaction of family physicians, has since become a valuable member asset, providing FPs with myriad tools and resources to address the factors that affect health and well-being.

[smiling physician and laptop]

One key resource launched last year, the Well-being Planner, is intended to help family physicians chart a path to personal wellness and professional fulfillment. A related educational event, the annual Physician Health and Well-being Conference, offers members evidence-based wellness solutions.

Enter the latest tool to be added to the Physician Health First portal. The Physician Well-being Index, an assessment created by the Mayo Clinic, will replace the Maslach Burnout Inventory to help members go beyond fighting burnout and focus instead on finding ways to increase professional satisfaction and fulfillment.

"At the AAFP, we have always believed that simply focusing on burnout is not as productive as working toward improving well-being and professional satisfaction," said Clif Knight, M.D., the Academy's senior vice president for education. "By utilizing the Well-being Index, family physicians will be able to gauge their current status. They can then use the information from the index to serve as motivation for seeking personal improvements in well-being."

Story Highlights
  • The AAFP has added a new assessment tool to its Physician Health First portal.
  • The Physician Well-being Index will help members focus on ways to increase levels of professional satisfaction and fulfillment.
  • The Academy will continue to refine the resources offered on Physician Health First and also will provide opportunities to increase physician well-being through other avenues.

Well-being Index Primer

AAFP members will need to create an account on the Physician Well-being Index website to take the assessment. While doing so, they can choose whether or not to receive periodic reminders to retake the index.

Members should be aware of some noteworthy differences between the MBI and the index:

  • Whereas AAFP members could take the MBI free of charge as many as five times, they can complete the index as frequently as once per month to assess their progress if they prefer.
  • The MBI contained several questions and took between 10 and 15 minutes to complete. The Physician Well-being Index consists of only a few questions and takes about one to two minutes to complete.
  • On completing the index, members will instantly be able to see their well-being index score. They'll also be able to compare their scores to those of their peers nationally and in various other categories, such as fatigue and work-life integration.

After completing the index, members can provide direct feedback to the AAFP by answering a series of questions on how the Academy can improve physician well-being.

The new tool allows members access to a well-being dashboard that helps track their progress toward well-being over time, along with links to relevant resources from the AAFP and the Mayo Clinic.

Like the MBI, the index is anonymous. All information members provide is kept private and will not be released or shared with anyone.

Additional Details

As for why the Academy is moving from the MBI to the Well-being Index, Knight explained the rationale behind that choice.

"We made the decision to emphasize a focus on well-being rather than burnout," Knight told AAFP News. "The Physician Well-being Index is convenient and brief, can be repeated monthly to monitor improvement or worsening, and frequent use of this assessment may be motivational in both short- and long-term improvement."

Knight also explained that the Well-being Index is tailored specifically for FPs and other physicians.

"The MBI has been utilized for several decades and is more generalized to assess work-based burnout. It can help compare burnout rates across professions and work environments. The Physician Well-being Index was developed by the Mayo Clinic specifically to measure a physician's level of well-being at any given point in time. This assessment has been studied and validated by Mayo researchers," Knight said.

For members who have already taken the MBI and integrated the results into the portal's Well-being Planner, Knight offered some advice.

"I encourage those who have completed the MBI to download or print their MBI assessment reports to refer back to over time as needed," he said. "The Physician Well-being Index will be additive to any plans already developed. You will not need to create a new plan.

"It will be best to review your plan for progress and potential refinements," Knight continued. "I encourage you to have a plan that promotes wellness and improved professional satisfaction utilizing solutions to address factors at the various levels of the family physician ecosystem, not simply work to avoid burnout."

Looking Ahead

Knight said the Academy will continue to fine-tune the resources offered on the Physician Health First portal and will provide additional educational activities through the Physician Health and Well-being Conference and other avenues.

The AAFP continues to sponsor the National Academy of Medicine's Action Collaborative on Clinician Well-being and Resilience,(nam.edu) he noted, and will also utilize a soon-to-be-released NAM consensus study to direct future efforts.

Related AAFP News Coverage
Q&A With Clif Knight, M.D.
Physician Well-being: Building on a Strong Foundation

(1/2/2019)

Focus on Physician Well-being