Lehigh Valley, Pa.,
13:43 PM

LVHN Names Chief Wellness Officer

Joseph Patruno, MD, board certified in Obstetrics and Gynecology (OBGYN) has been named Chief Wellness Officer of Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN).

“Physician burnout is a vexing problem,” Thomas Whalen, MD, Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer of LVHN, said. In the 2019 Medscape National Physician Burnout Report, 44 percent of physicians reported feeling burned out. Whalen said Patruno was appointed Chief Wellness Officer to address this pressing issue and promote well-being among health care professionals.

“Burnout is endemic in the clinical setting,” Patruno said. “My role proves that LVHN is committed to improving the wellbeing of its caregivers, ultimately improving patient care and satisfaction.

In his role, Patruno will implement strategies that meet the goals of the LVHN Well-Being Paradigm.

LVHN Well-Being Paradigm

  • Creating a Culture of Wellness
  • Optimizing Efficiency in Practice
  • Promoting Personal Resiliency

Creating a Culture of Wellness

There are various programs that express appreciation towards and recognize caregiver achievement, provide mentorship to early career physicians, and express to caregivers how truly valuable they are to LVHN. Patruno is also advocating for a Well-Being Counsel.  Colleagues who join this group will act as a representative on the operational side of their department. These individuals will determine what needs to be improved in the caregiving environment and also bring ideas back to their team on how to improve structure and boost well-being. One program already implemented is Physicians for Physicians (P4P), a peer mentorship group of doctors and Advanced Practice Clinicians (APC) who support colleagues facing professional or personal strife.

Optimizing Efficiency in Practice

The goals are to maximize time spent with patients while minimizing unnecessary administrative chores to optimize the joy in practicing medicine. Effectively implementing team-based care principles will ensure physicians are receiving the support they need. Plans include EHR optimization, staffing and documentation support, improved work space and IT enhancements.

Promoting Personal Resiliency

This will be achieved by fostering more community and collegiality, promoting self-care and resiliency programs, and efforts to improve work-life balance for health care providers at LVHN. Social mixers hosted by Medical Staff Services are an example of a program that has been successful in bringing doctors and other caregivers together outside of the hospital.

“Our early efforts, through our Wellness Committee, have been in measuring the problem of burnout and creating strategies to combat it to allow our physicians and care teams to thrive in the clinical environment,” Patruno said. “Assuring the well-being of our caregivers is a moral imperative, assures that our patients get the highest quality care and experience, and in the end makes financial sense for our health network.”

About LVHN

Lehigh Valley Health Network includes eight hospital campuses - three in Allentown including the region's only facility dedicated to orthopedic surgery, one in Bethlehem, one in East Stroudsburg, one in Hazleton and two in Pottsville, Pa.; 26 health centers caring for communities in seven counties; numerous primary and specialty care physician practices and 19 ExpressCARE locations throughout the region including the area’s only Children’s ExpressCARE at the Health Center at Palmer Township; pharmacy, imaging, home health services and lab services; extensive inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation services; and preferred provider services through Valley Preferred. Specialty care includes trauma care at the region’s busiest, most-experienced trauma center treating adults and children, burn care at the regional Burn Center, kidney and pancreas transplants; perinatal/neonatal, cardiac, cancer care, orthopedics, and neurology and complex neurosurgery capabilities including national certification as a Comprehensive Stroke Center. The Lehigh Valley Cancer Institute, the Lehigh Valley Heart Institute, and the Lehigh Valley Institute for Special Surgery give clinicians of the highest caliber the necessary infrastructure, programs, and partnerships to help community members stay healthy and provide the most advanced treatment when needed. The Lehigh Valley Cancer Institute is a formal member of the Memorial Sloan Kettering (MSK) Cancer Alliance, a transformative initiative to improve the quality of care and outcomes for people with cancer in community health care settings, including access to key MSK clinical trials. Robotic surgery is offered in ten specialties across the health network with more than 10,000 procedures performed since 2007. Lehigh Valley Children’s Hospital, the only children’s hospital and Level 4 NICU in the region, provides care in more than 30 specialties and general pediatrics. Lehigh Valley Hospital-Cedar Crest has been recognized among the top five hospitals in Pennsylvania by U.S. News & World Report for five consecutive years. Lehigh Valley Hospital-Cedar Crest, Lehigh Valley Hospital–17th Street and Lehigh Valley Hospital–Muhlenberg are national Magnet® hospitals for excellence in nursing. Additional information is available by visiting LVHN.org or following us on FacebookTwitterLinkedIn, and Instagram.