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How Mission Health fought back against burnout

According to a 2016 Advisory Board report, more than 50 percent of all physicians report symptoms of burnout, and an equal 50 percent of nurses report feeling emotionally exhausted.

Burnout is associated with lower patient experience scores and lower physician levels of empathy, according to a 2014 Annals of Family Medicine study. In addition, burnout leads to greater hospital staff turnover which was over 19 percent in 2015.

So North Carolina-based health system Mission Health invested in combatting team burnout. And it’s paying off, with team members enjoying increased resilience, performance, life satisfaction, and overall wellbeing.

Life cross-training program (LIFE-XT)

To address team burnout, Mission Health implemented Life Cross Training (LIFE XT), a human performance program. Developed in partnership with leading neuroscience experts at the University of Chicago and Stanford University, LIFE XT uses a blended learning model to change how the brain responds to stress, training the skills that increase focus, cultivate empathy, and promote productivity. Its analytics tools measure these attributes and allow participants to track their progress over time.

The four-month pilot program that included physicians, nurses, and administrative staff used mindfulness, engagement, compassion, and habit change to train the skill of wellbeing. At the end of the program the participants’:

  • workplace performance increased by 19 percent,
  • focus increased by 22 percent,
  • overall wellbeing increased by 15 percent, and
  • resilience increased by 11 percent.

Overall, the program had a 98% satisfaction rate and a 95% willingness to recommend.


“Mission Health has been a longstanding national leader in quality and efficiency, having been named a top 15 health system for four consecutive years,” said David R. Strand, LIFE XT CEO. “Now, they have turned their attention to caregiver burnout and resiliency and are showing great progress. It has been a privilege to partner with them as they address this strategically important issue. The results we achieved with Mission give us great hope that other health systems around the country, using the LIFE XT program, will soon achieve similar results.”

“Our top strategic priority is to continue to make Mission Health a great place to work and practice,” said Mission Health president and CEO, Ronald A. Paulus, MD. “We are committed to restoring joy to the practice of medicine. We know that to provide the most compassionate and effective care for our patients, we must also care for our team members. LIFE XT has given our physicians, nurses and other team member participants the tools they need to continue the journey to joy and resilience in health care. Combined with process redesign that eliminates hassles and scales joy events, we believe that we can turn the tide in the sea of nationwide burnout.”

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