Healthcare Trend Watch — In Healthcare, We Need More Joy in Work

April 1, 2021
April 1, 2021

This post is taken from an article by Robin L. Rose, MBA VP, Healthcare Resource Group, HealthStream, where she looks ahead at the coming year, with an eye to big picture trends that could have a significant impact on how we provide and experience care.

We need more joy in the work of healthcare.

We are all aware of the high incidence of burnout in the healthcare industry. According to some recent statistics (Perlo & Feeley, 2018):

  • 37% of newly licensed registered nurses consider leaving the profession in their first year of practice.
  • 54% of U.S. physicians categorize themselves as “burned out.”
  • 60% of physicians are considering leaving the profession.


The Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) is embracing the issue of burnout and calling on the industry to aim for a higher goal—not just the absence of burnout but actually the presence of joy in the workplace. According to the IHI, “Ample evidence indicates that management practices that are concentrated on producing a joyful, engaged workforce result in lower burnout, fewer medical errors, and a better patient experience; other benefits include better teamwork, less waste, higher customer satisfaction, and improved productivity” (Perlo & Feeley, 2018). The IHI has outlined a series of steps to promote joy in the workplace, but it all starts with one simple step: Ask staff and physicians what really matters to them and really listen to understand what contributes to—or detracts from—joy in work.


Additional Healthcare Trends to Watch

Other trends identified in this article include:

  • Amazon is becoming a major disrupter in many areas of healthcare
  • Healthcare costs are becoming scarier than the illness itself.
  • We need to prepare for new health risks from weather and other disasters.
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) is dramatically changing healthcare
  • We are finally addressing population health.
  • CMS is changing course.
  • The nursing shortage is getting worse.
  • Physicians are in short supply too.
  • Digital healthcare organizations are emerging.



Perlo, Jessica; Feeley, Derek; “Why Focusing on Professional Burnout Is Not Enough,” Journal of Healthcare Management, March-April 2018,


Download the complete article here.