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Global leader VHA guest in Melbourne today

Posted 11 March 2016

The wellbeing of clinicians was the missing ingredient in improving the patient experience, global health expert Professor David Sobel said in Melbourne today.

“If we want to serve patients, we can’t do it with burnt out clinicians,” said Prof Sobel at the Victorian Healthcare Association and cohealth breakfast.

“We have to get real and consider an improved clinical experience – 87 per cent of clinicians (in the USA) report moderate to severe stress,” said Professor Sobel, co-author of numerous books on health improvement and a regular on the USA TV and speaking circuit.

He emphasised the power of “self care” and drew a powerful link between happiness, confidence and improved health outcomes.

“We need dynamic new care models and an appreciation that patients are not passive consumers of health care.

“Patients are the true primary care providers.”

Professor Sobel - whose audiences have included Ivy League colleges, the American Hospital Association, World Health Organization, National Institutes for Health and the UK’s NHS - also spoke about the enormously negative impact of psychosocial distress on health and wellbeing.

“Mind/body medicine … it’s real medicine that can effect real outcomes.”

Confidence and efficacy were essential tools in developing a mindset to change behaviour that’s holding back people’s health.

The specialist in preventative medicine emphasised the importance of discovering what a patient’s passions were, asking them to suggest solutions and celebrating small improvements.

The VHA CEO Tom Symondson said Professor Sobel highlighted that it’s not always attempts at major change that can have the biggest impact.

“He showed that small steps can lead to success. The experience of successfully changing behaviour one step at a time can lead to massive benefits in the end,” My Symondson said.

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