DENVER (CBS4) – The American Diabetes Association held its annual State of Diabetes Breakfast, and this year the message was about mental health.
The breakfast is a chance for the ADA to honor its Health Champions, local companies that create a culture of wellness in the workplace. Lt. Governor Donna Lynne addressed the crowd, talking about the importance of wellness in people’s personal lives as well as efforts the state has taken to improve health and prevent diabetes in its employees.
The ADA believes it’s imperative that employers are supporting the overall wellness of employees as well as providing opportunities to help prevent diabetes. Employees with diabetes cost $10,000 more annually than individuals without diabetes, according to the Health Care Cost Institute. Mental health should be a part of a full wellness program, especially with the strong correlation between diabetes and depression. Chronic diseases, like diabetes, are also associated with work absenteeism, anxiety and less productivity.
During the breakfast, Dr. Scott Ellner, the president and CEO of Centura Health Physician Group, gave a presentation on mindfulness as a way to prevent burnout.
“One of the things we’re dealing with right now with healthcare is this whole idea of burnout,” Ellner told CBS4.
Burnout is the progressive loss of idealism, loss of energy and loss of purpose. Mindfulness is a way of reconnecting with the present moment and one’s purpose.
“When you’re mindful, when you’re actually doing things to take advantage of what’s going on at that time, there’s higher performance; and, we’ve seen that it actually helps with job satisfaction, morale with care teams, and people feel like they’re contributing more to the organization,” Ellner explained.
Ellner calls burnout an epidemic among health care professionals. It impacts about 54 percent of physicians, according to a 2014 Mayo Clinic study. Dr. Ellner said that enacting a mindful practice has had a significant impact on the practice, including an improvement in administrative cost, less turnover among care teams and an overall improvement in morale.
“I’ve seen that it’s affected the way I interact with people much more positively, much more relaxed. In fact, during meetings or stressful situations, my breathing pattern actually changes. It actually helps me to focus much more on the task at hand,” Ellner said.
Ellner said that when providers feel good about what they do, it translates into a better patient experience, too.