68_The Human Margin with Dr. Katherine Meese, Ph.D

Hosted by Quint Studer with special guest Dr. Katherine Meese

This week Quint talks with Dr. Katherine Meese (UAB), who conducted an extensive study on what’s driving burnout in health care workers and it’s not at all what you’d expect!

In healthcare, we often talk about the financial margin (Do we have enough money to keep the doors open and pursue our mission?) and the operational margin (Do we have enough beds, space, speed and quality?).  Dr. Katherine Meese says it’s time to focus on the Human Margin. In its simplest form, healthcare is humans working with humans to heal humans. Dr. Meese says that for every decision we’re making, every conversation we’re having at every level of the organization, we must start asking, “How will this impact our human margin?”

In 2020, Dr. Meese conducted an extensive survey of healthcare workers from all parts of the organization (both clinical and non-clinical), asking what would improve their well-being or experience at work. She looked at more than 40 different variables. The things that contributed the most to their stress levels were really surprising and not all what she had assumed was driving burnout.

Dr. Meese says we can utilize this research to create conditions that maximize the human margin. She says it’s not just about the absence of burnout, but creating a culture where our people can actually flourish. When people bring their best selves to work, it solves a lot of other problems.

About Katherine A. Meese, Ph.D

Katherine A. Meese, Ph.D is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Health Services Administration at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. She also serves as the Director of Wellness Research in the UAB Medicine Office of Wellness and Director for the Center for Healthcare Management and Leadership. She earned her Ph.D in Health Services Administration with a specialization in strategic management from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and joined the faculty in 2020. Dr. Meese has several years of industry experience which encompassed work in ten countries on four continents, including management within a large academic medical center. She has co-authored two textbooks for organizational behavior in health care that are used in healthcare management programs across the country, and over 25 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters.  Her research interests are in organizational behavior, leadership, well-being, and delivery models that enhance organizational learning. Her passion is in helping translate rigorous research into a format that can be easily understood and utilized by individuals and teams.