Written by: Juliane Tomlin

The Case for Change

As many of us experience in our work each day, burnout is rampant in healthcare delivery. More than half of general internists and family physicians have symptoms of burnout (1), and many feel the reasons they went into this field in the first place—to provide high quality care to patients in a meaningful way—are becoming a distant memory. Instead, an increased demand of paperwork, administrative hassles, and complicated EHRs are leaving our clinicians and staff exhausted.

Not surprisingly, patients are also suffering as a result. Not only are we seeing diminished patient satisfaction, but also worse access, reduced adherence to treatment plans, and lower quality of care and patient safety.

In this current state of affairs, “bringing joy back to practice” is not always a top priority. But, the risks are sobering if we choose not to address this issue head on. When you take a “What’s In It For Me” (or WIIFM) approach, you’ll find that there are strong cases to be made to all parties involved that increased joy in practice has significant impact. We developed this graphic below as a “one stop shop” resource to reference as you build your case. (2,3,4,5)

joy practice

How do you actually do it?

Now that you’ve been successful in making your case for change to your stakeholders, how do you actually do the work to bring joy back to practice? There is robust evidence that high performing primary care practices have demonstrated (1), from “sharing the care” and other team-based care interventions, to closer examination and implementation of the components of an effective, high-reliability organizations:

  • Continuous learning
  • Improvement culture
  • Teamwork
  • Transparency

joy practice

More details on building your case for change and making the changes necessary to bring joy back to practice can be found in the attached slides.

Questions? Feel free to contact Juliane Tomlin ([email protected])


  1. Shanafelt TD, Boone S, Tan L, et al. Burnout and satisfaction with work-life balance among US physicians relative to the general US population. Arch Intern Med. 2012;172(18):1377–1385.
  2. Bodenheimer T, Sinsky C, Willard-Grace R et al: In Search of Joy in Practice: A Report of 23 High-Functioning Primary Care Practices. Ann Fam Med 2013;11:272-278.
  3. Bodenheimer T, Sinsky C. From triple to quadruple aim: care of the patient. Ann Fam Med. 2014;12(6):573–6.
  4. Buchbinder SB, Wilson M, Melick CF, Powe NR. Primary care physician job satisfaction and turnover. Am J Manag Care. 2001;7(7): 701-713.
  5. Williams ES, Skinner AC. Outcomes of physician job satisfaction: Williams ES, Skinner AC. Outcomes of physician job satisfaction: a narrative review, implications, and directions for future research. Health Care Manage Rev. 2003;28(2):119-139.

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