Mindfulness in medicine

Luchterhand, C., et al. (2015). Creating a Culture of Mindfulness in Medicine. Health Innovations (Wisconsin Medical Journal), 114(3), 105-109. Full text.

Background: Well-documented challenges faced by primary care clinicians have brought growing awareness to the issues of physician wellness and burnout and the potential subsequent impact on patients. Research has identified mindfulness as a tool to increase clinician well-being and enhance clinician characteristics associated with a more patient-centered orientation to clinical care.

Objective: The overall goal of our intervention was to promote the cultivation of mindful awareness throughout our health system, creating a culture of mindfulness in medicine
Methods: We developed a systems-level strategy to promote health and resilience for clinicians and patients by preparing a group of clinician leaders to serve as catalysts to practice and teach mindfulness. The strategy involved 3 steps: (1) select 5 primary care leaders to help foster mindfulness within both health care delivery and education; (2) provide funds for these leaders to attend advanced mindfulness training designed specifically for clinicians; and (3) foster mindfulness within our health system and beyond via collaborative planning meetings and seed money for implementation of projects.

Results: All 5 leaders endorsed the personal value of the mindfulness training, with some describing it as life-changing. Within 8 months, 4 of the leaders fostered a wide variety of mindfulness activities benefitting colleagues, medical students, and patients across our state and beyond.

Conclusion: We found that the value received from our investment in mindfulness far exceeded our relatively low cost, although further evaluation is needed to prove this.