Healthy Doctors

What

“A healthy doctor is a better doctor.”

To be able to work well and professionally fulfilled, also in the long term, it is essential for doctors that they take care of their own health and vitality, in other words, their well-being. Moreover, research shows that vitality benefits the provision of high quality patient care.

Demanding and continuously changing working conditions, such as high workloads, administrative and/or emotional burdens, pressurize doctors’ vitality. The COVID-19 pandemic has made and continues to call on doctors’ well-being. The VITA tool evaluates the vitality of medical specialists and residents within a department. The tool considers the influence of several environmental and individual factors on doctors’ experienced vitality.

The VITA tool is based on The Stanford Model of Professional Fulfillment. The questionnaire measures 4 domains, doctors’ (self) perceived vitality, and three influencing factors: a culture of wellness, the efficiency of practice, and personal resilience. The tool measures how doctors perceive the influencing factors and whether there is room to discuss the well-being domains within the department or group.

The vitality of doctors has become an evident part of the professionalism of medical specialists and residents. In the Netherlands, in postgraduate medical education, explicit attention for doctors’ vitality is demanded in hospital audits. Many hospitals have developed and offer interventions to doctors who want or must work to improve their vitality. It can be helpful to use the VITA tool before intervening to better align the needs of doctors and their departments with interventions provided by the hospital.

Evaluation takes place using web-based questionnaires. All doctors (medical specialists and/or residents) of a department fill in a questionnaire. The questionnaire consists of 45 short statements that can be scored on Likert-type scales. The questionnaire only takes a few minutes, and there is ‘free text’ space to clarify the scores. The Perito Professional Performance platform entirely automates conducting the questionnaires and generates one VITA report per department. If both medical specialists and residents have completed a questionnaire, the results of both groups will be fed back separately in the report.

The VITA tool has been developed for doctors: medical specialists and residents can use it. Each doctor completes a questionnaire.

VITA tool participation is anonymous for all participants. In the VITA report, the results for medical specialists and residents are reported separately, provided that sufficient respondents per group have participated. Only the number of doctors who completed the questionnaire is stated. Other data, such as gender or year of education, are not included in the report; this data is anonymized and may be used for scientific research.

After the pre-agreed measurement period, the VITA report is generated automatically. The report can be downloaded by the ‘administrator’ of the measurement, usually – depending on the organization – the team leader or department chair.

The VITA tool has been developed according to the Stanford Model of Professional Fulfillment (Stanford University, CA, USA). For the operationalization of the influencing factors, scientifically validated constructs have been used where possible. The Professional Performance & Compassionate Care research groups (Amsterdam UMC) developed the VITA tool in collaboration with doctors.