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Congress 2015 Speaker in the Spotlight

Thursday, April 16, 2015   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Sara Reardon
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This week’s speaker in the spotlight is Christine A. Sinsky, MD, FACP


Dr. Sinsky is the Vice President of Professional Satisfaction at the American Medical Association. A board-certified internist, she also practices at Medical Associates Clinic and Health Plans in Dubuque, Iowa. From 2011 to 2012, she led “In Search of Joy in Practice,” a primary care project of the American Board of Internal Medicine’s ABIM Foundation. Dr. Sinsky is a co-author of the Institute of Medicine’s 2011 report “Health IT and Patient Safety: Building Safer Systems for Better Care,” and she has twice provided testimony to the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology regarding the role of electronic health records in care coordination and usability.


Is this your first time speaking at NPSF’s Annual Congress?



What are you most looking forward to at Congress?

I am looking forward to interacting with physicians and other health care professionals around ways to structure the health care environment for better patient safety and better professional satisfaction.


What does patient safety mean to you?

I believe patients get the safest care when:


  1. They are known  
  2. Their health care team can provide them with undivided attention
  3. Their team is well-supported with efficient workflows and organized with easily accessible information
  4. Their health care team enjoys their work


By being “known” I mean, that the nurses and physicians know the patient as a real person, what their life is and has been like, who are their supports, what their goals are. Inherent in being “known” is continuity with one’s health care team, that is, that the same medical assistants, nurses and physicians work with the patient at each visit and between visits.


By “undivided attention” I mean that the physicians and other providers can listen intently to the patient and think deeply, without being distracted by multi-tasking, and without being diverted by clerical tasks such as data gathering and data entry.


By “organized, accessible information” I mean an EHR that reduces the cognitive workload of information management, checklists that make it easy to do the right thing, and the supportive use of performance measurement to empower front line workers to improve care.


There is a guiding principle, which I learned from Borgess Health in Michigan: “We will know who you are and we will be ready for you.” This is a powerful promise to patients, and it depends on knowing the patient, providing undivided attention, and being well-supported by efficient workflows.


And I believe the best way to achieve a safe and satisfying experience for patients is to create an environment that nurtures the intrinsic professionalism of the physicians and other health care workers—where the health care team can experience joy in practice. That achieving the triple aim is dependent on the quadruple aim: care of the patient requires care of the providers. 


I believe that most health professionals come to work each day to serve their patients, to make a difference in their patients’ lives. If the environment helps people meet these professional goals, by making information easily accessible, by limiting the distracting burdens of regulatory compliance, by fostering relationships, then I believe the members of the healthcare team will give the patients their all, and the results will be safer, more satisfying care.


You can find Dr. Sinsky and her colleagues in the Creating and Sustaining Joy & Meaning and Safety in the Workplace track in Session 402: Joy in Practice: Reconnecting with the Meaning and the Mission of Our Work from 9:45AM – 10:45AM on Friday during Congress. For a full description of his session please see below. To register for the NPSF Congress, click here. To view details about other breakout sessions, click here.


Session 402: Joy in Practice: Reconnecting with the Meaning and the Mission of Our Work


Christine A. Sinsky, MD, FACP, Vice President, Professional Satisfaction, American Medical Association


Health care in the U.S. is undergoing rapid change. New regulations and technological innovations are being introduced into the clinical setting to improve care; however, there have been unintended negative consequences that can affect patients as well as the well-being of physicians and others on the care team, leading to burnout. This session will explore these effects and point to potential solutions, including innovations at the practice level, such as re-engineering office workflows, as well as at the institutional and policy levels, such as avoiding over-interpretation of policies, keeping measures

simple, and thinking about the amount of time it takes for providers to comply with policies. The content will address the need for leadership and policy changes at the local and national levels. Solutions will require the cooperation of all—from measure developers, vendors and regulators to institutions and physicians.

Participants will be introduced to AMA practice transformation resources under development to help guide organizations in improving the practice model in ambulatory care, and thus reconnect with the joy and the meaning of our work.


Upon completing this session, attendees will be able to:

  • Identify 3 innovations to improve quality and satisfaction of practice
  • Describe proactive planned care, with pre-visit planning and pre-visit laboratory tests
  • Discuss the possibilities of reclaiming the joy in practice
  • Describe an expanded rooming and discharge role for clinical assistants

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