Dr Mila Felder Explains the Benefits of a Well-Being Council in Oncology Practices

Mila Felder, MD, FACEP, emergency physician and vice president for Well-Being for All Teammates, Advocate Health, shares the importance of incorporating a culture of well-being within oncology practices.

By using a council model for well-being, oncology practices can better understand how to serve a multifaceted workforce that includes many individuals with different needs and wellness expectations, Mila Felder, MD, FACEP, emergency physician and vice president for Well-Being for All Teammates, Advocate Health, said.


How does the Council of Well-Being contribute to creating a culture of support, and what initiatives or strategies has it implemented to achieve its goals?

We built the Council of Well-Being surrounding professional well-being, academic consortium, and the Well MD Stanford model of lobbying. Based on that model, a tremendous component of well-being is owned by organization, but well-being doesn't happen in isolation. Our goal is to take the work of Stanford and other PWAC [Physician Wellness Academic Consortium] members nationally and build our own component of what that means for advocates. That means we take the culture of well-being the practice efficiency, and the human or individual resiliency. I like "human resiliency" more. We take those components, break them apart, find the owners within the organization who already are responsible in part for the components of that. [We] bring them to the table together with either frontline or passionate people who are voluntarily doing this work in different parts of organization, find pieces of it that we could solve and popularize those solutions, offering people some ways of addressing the cultural components with things like peer support, mission spiritual care, and EAP [Employee Assistance Program], which a lot of our teammates didn't know existed. And then, taking some of the practice efficiency tools that would be delivered to very specific employed people, delivering on that through DAX [Data Analysis Expressions] and Scribble, which are models to document easier, so that clinicians could spend more time with patients, and make those more accessible.

Sometimes, you don't notice that you have 4 fewer clicks, but we now know that takes half an hour of your day. So, connecting the work we do with people who are impacted by telling them “Hey, this is what happened as a result of this intervention,” resulted in recognition; “Oh, my God, [this] organization is doing so much for my well-being.” When it was siloed before, it cost a lot of energy, time, and money. And [it] didn't result in recognition that we're doing.

We have a lot to do still. And in human resiliency, we are looking at harmonizing the benefits to better understand how to serve the workforce of today, which combines generations of people expecting different things. There's a lot of learning to do. But I think the only way to get there is by using the council model, where people who are on the frontline doing the work are in the same room hearing from what the upcoming ideas are and are able to vet those ideas to move them forward more successfully and to deliver on them together.

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