Prescribing Wellness: Why HCPs Need Dedicated Programs

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The issue of health and wellness is a large topic in corporate America. Why not also the medical field? 

Imagine this scenario: If over 90 percent of the workforce in your company regularly felt exhausted, more than 60 percent were contemplating leaving their profession entirely, and one out of ten had even contemplated suicide at some point, would management hesitate to take immediate action? Certainly not.

Unfortunately, this alarming situation is a stark reality for a particular group of professionals: physicians. A recent survey conducted by AthenaHealth revealed the first two distressing scenarios, while a study in 2021 by the physician advocacy group Disappearing Doctors shed light on the third.

Considering that physicians constitute a crucial audience for life science companies, being pivotal to investigator meetings, commercial gatherings, and other events organized by such firms, it seems logical that addressing physician stress and burnout would be a priority in these meetings.

Wellness has gained significant traction across various corporate and association events with activities like massage chairs, meditation sessions, yoga classes, walks outside, exercise, and healthy snack bars becoming standard fare in agendas across industries.

Eli Sananes, managing director of the life sciences division at Etherio Group, a prominent meetings agency, highlights a shift in their approach. He mentions that they now factor in the availability of wellness activities when selecting meeting venues for their clients. In some cases, they even shorten business sessions to allow attendees time for stress-relief activities.

Despite these trends, when it comes to physician attendees, the approach tends to differ. Companies often prioritize efficiency, opting for venues near airports and omitting non-business-related elements from the agenda, assuming physicians are pressed for time. However, given the immense stress experienced by most physicians, it would be prudent for life science firms to reconsider this approach. According to a February 2024 survey by Journal of the American Medical Association, 60 percent of physicians take less than 15 days of vacation per year, and most do not stop handling patient needs entirely when on vacation.

Sananes predicts that wellness initiatives seen in sales and commercial meetings will soon extend to meetings involving physicians. Incorporating elements of stress relief and self-care into meeting agendas could influence physicians’ decisions on which events to attend. With physicians receiving numerous event invitations annually but being able to accept only a handful, offering activities promoting well-being could make certain meetings more appealing. Whether it’s through yoga and meditation sessions, peer group discussions led by moderators, or one-on-one consultations with counselors to devise personalized stress-relief plans, life science firms have ample opportunities to address the critical need for physicians’ well-being.

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