Here's some tips for the health of your healthcare practice.

With burnout on the rise across many medical professions, it’s no surprise that developing a healthy, welcoming work environment is more important than ever. Overwork, emotional exhaustion, negative attitudes, loss of drive, and other common symptoms can set a provider on the road to burn out, certainly, but a practice’s organizational culture can play a large role in their mindset as well. 

In a new report released by the MGMA, researchers identified four key employee-specific areas that administrators can modify to best ensure their organization’s culture is as helpful and healthy as possible.

Three doctors holding up x-ray to light

Behavior Modeling

While the phrase “behavior modeling” may sound like something out of a parenting book, the reality is much more palatable—and useful—for medical organizations. In order to successfully foster and develop a good company culture, leaders need to embody the values of the organization. Practice administrators often play the largest role in shaping an organization’s culture, mission, values, and general strategic direction.

By providing a good example for staff members to follow, practice leaders will help establish a sense of trust and engagement. This combination often leads to increased sensations of morale, which has a positive correlation with staff retention. Effective practice management of the mishmash of personalities that often end up in a healthcare organization has been show to alleviate frustration, for providers and staff members alike. The end result? Happier employees who are nearly doubly less likely to experience burnout.


Unsurprisingly, establishing an open line of communication across a healthcare organization’s varying levels of staff is key to its continued success. Allowing employees to ask questions and provide input can increase their feelings of self-worth and value to the organization at large.

One of the most important aspects of having open and transparent communication among employees is helping them to understand the rationale behind decisions being made. Switching EHR systems, adding a new provider or specialty, changing a long-time billing process; all transitions that can run more smoothly if employees are kept in the loop on why such alterations are occurring. “When people understand why they’re doing what they’re doing, as opposed to just being told what to do, they are more likely to be empowered to make certain decisions that impact the patient experience and care in a good way,” says Deron Schriver, CFO of Susque-hanna Valley Women’s Healthcare in York, PA.


Employee engagement is defined as “the extent to which employees feel passionate about their jobs, are committed to the organization, and put discretionary effort into their work.” Engagement is key to keeping the organization running smoothly. It speaks to the basic human need of wanting to feel valued and included.

Establishing a relationship of trust and respect between employee and organization will make the employee more energized and willing to put forth effort to fully align themselves with the organization’s overall goals.

Examples include:

  • Marking work milestones and personal wins
  • Celebrating birthdays, seasonal events, and holidays
  • Holding events such as a monthly potluck lunch, movie night, or bowling
  • Organizing wellness events
  • Hosting a motivational speaker

Making steps as simple as the above can increase employee engagement.


Tied into employee engagement is empowerment. A workplace that encourages creativity and autonomy gives employees, practice leaders, and managers alike a sense of purpose, belonging, and empowerment. This culture is sustainable in a way that others like it—but lacking empowerment—fail, because of its sustainability. Not only are current employees benefited by their sense of involvement in value, but this kind of culture will carry on to new and future staff members as they are brought into the organization. By establishing the importance of mentoring can help keep long-term staff members engaged, while simultaneously ensuring that newer, younger employees feel welcomed and valued.

While there’s no one way to craft a positive culture for a healthcare organization, taking these 4 factors into account can help make the process a little simpler and more effective.

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Laura Slade

Written by Laura Slade