Two weeks ago, the American Medical Association’s immediate past president, Dr. Steven Stack, chose what seemed like an odd venue to mention something called the “Quadruple Aim.”
He was giving remarks at the grand opening of the OSF Simulation Stage at healthcare startup incubator Matter in Chicago. The AMA supports Matter and has a lab of its own, the AMA Interaction Studio, in the same facility.
“We need to restore joy to the practice of medicine,” Stack said on the very day the Annals of Internal Medicine published an AMA-supported study showing that physician waste huge chunks of their day on administrative tasks. Notably, doctors in four ambulatory specialties were tied up on electronic health records and other desk work for 49 percent of the work day, the research found.
“We have got to get to the Quadruple Aim,” Stack said. That means the Triple Aim of safer patient care, better population health and lower costs, plus a fourth element, clinician satisfaction.
That phrase has been around for several years, but sort of became official in late 2014, when the Annals of Family Medicine published a commentary about the Quadruple Aim. One of the two authors was Dubuque, Iowa, internist Dr. Christine Sinsky, who happens to be the AMA’s vice president for professional satisfaction.
It has resurfaced several times in recent weeks, not just in Slack’s comments at Matter.
The Quadruple Aim got a shout-out Tuesday at the International Conference on Physician Health in Boston. That biennial event is put on by the AMA, the Canadian Medical Association and the British Medical Association.
#quadrupleaim it has to be! #ICPH2016 pic.twitter.com/T8atYtpggr
— Dawn Clark, MD (@scpmgmdwellness) September 20, 2016
On Sunday, Dr. Robert Wergin, president-elect of the American Academy of Family Physicians, gave his support for the Quadruple Aim.
A week ago, medical student Jamie Katuna posted a dramatic, emotional video on Facebook and the KevinMD blog decrying the term “burnout” as being derogatory toward physicians. “It’s not burnout, it’s abuse,” Katuna said.
You might think that only those involved in organized medicine like the AMA and AAFP are in favor of the Quadruple Aim, but the concept is starting to creep into other areas of healthcare.
In August, the term appeared — in context of employee engagement, rather than physician satisfaction — in a presentation at Optum Forum 2016. That’s an event put on by UnitedHealth Group’s health IT and analytics subsidiary Optum.
The #Quadrupleaim #OptumForum16 pic.twitter.com/X7bxFaRCer
— Ezz Moukamal, MD FHM (@emoukamal) August 24, 2016
Photos: Flickr user Asim Bharwani, Twitter user Dawn Clark, MD