Professionalism Challenge

The ABIM Foundation, in partnership with the Council of Medical Specialty Societies, is funding four projects designed and led by practicing physicians with promising ideas for overcoming an obstacle that inhibits them from performing their work per the principles and professional commitments defined in the Physician Charter.

Grantees from the following organizations were selected to receive $25,000 to implement a project to foster professionalism. The grants run from April 2016 through March 2018.

Albany (Georgia) Area Primary Health Care: Despite the success of worldwide immunization interventions, U.S. adult immunization rates have remained low and exhibit racial and ethnic disparities for many routinely recommended vaccines. To address this situation locally, Albany Area Primary Health Care, a physician-led, federally qualified health center reaching a predominately African American, underserved population in southwest Georgia, will focus on improving adult immunization rates by expanding the use of Georgia’s immunization registry (GRITS) in its practice. As the use of registries can increase immunization rates by consolidating vaccination records from multiple physicians, project leaders will utilize a coordinator to assess accuracy of GRITS information and develop clinician trainings to encourage its use.

Henry Ford Hospital: Recognizing that effective physician conversations about treatment options can help intensive care unit (ICU) patients and family members make more informed decisions, Henry Ford Hospital will expand the use of a communications model called “CLEAR” ( Connect-Listen-Empathize-Align-Respect) to all units of the medical ICU. The model includes communication skills training, bedside training and in-unit integration by staff to help improve communication among the entire care team, including physicians, physicians-in-training and nurses.

Paoli Hospital: Citing the difficulties physicians often express when balancing technological demands during patient interactions, as well as associated burnout rates, an interprofessional team at Paoli Hospital will create a project aimed at identifying how the current use of technology presents barriers to delivering patient care and potential improvements to workflow. By exploring new ways of using technology, project leaders believe they can improve physician satisfaction, morale and professionalism, all in service of providing better care for patients.

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA): Choices made by critical care specialists—who often treat the sickest patients with the most intensive and expensive treatments—have not only clinical consequences but also resource implications. A previous physician survey evaluation found that some patients in UCLA ICUs received treatment that physicians found to be ineffective, but that physicians did not want to deny requests from families for such care. Building on this work, critical care specialists working with the Advance Care Planning program at UCLA plan to (a) track physicians’ ability to avoid providing inappropriate care; (b) discuss cases in which inappropriate care may have been delivered; and (c) host learning sessions about how to approach situations in which patients and families request inappropriate treatments.