13 Jul Feeling Burnt Out? Here are 4 Ways You Can Minimize the Risk of Physician Burnout?
A healthcare provider’s top priority is ensuring a premium care experience for their patients. That, combined with countless hours of paperwork, patient account management, and medical billing, can cause the healthcare provider to put their own health on the back burner.
Physician burnout is a very real and pressing issue. In recent years especially, it has become a pandemic – it has been estimated that roughly half of all doctors will experience some form of burnout at some point in their careers. And it is not just an American problem – studies have shown that physician burnout rates are similar in other countries too.
Despite the catastrophic effects of burnout, medical facilities and departments remain ill-equipped to address or prevent it. After meticulous research, we have identified different ways you can minimize the risk of physician burnout in your medical facility. Below we will be discussing ways physicians can increase efficiency during work hours while decreasing the time and stress the tasks a medical practice brings along:
For healthcare providers to be able to offer the best possible care to their patients, it is imperative that they receive emotional support. Being a healthcare provider is an emotionally exhausting job – one that leaves providers feeling frustrated and distressed when they have no one to turn to with their struggles.
A listening campaign can help build healthy workplace relationships and provide emotional support to healthcare providers. Some tips for creating an effective listening campaign include:
- Offering resources and tools to healthcare providers suffering from mental health problems and connecting them with colleagues facing similar challenges
- Hosting informational workshops or webinars where healthcare providers learn effective ways to express and deal with their workplace frustrations
- Offering free or discounted services to healthcare providers who participate in the listening campaign to encourage more healthcare professionals to become ambassadors for the listening campaign and offer support to their colleagues
- Creating a blog where healthcare providers write about and share their personal stories and struggle to spread awareness
Offer Flexible Work Arrangements
Creating healthy work environments that offer flexible work arrangements can help employees become more productive and less stressed. This can allow them to better balance their personal and professional lives, which leads to increased satisfaction at both jobs and in life overall.
Even if the minimum work hours are mandated system-wide, let your healthcare providers adjust their availability based on personal preference. Instead of pressurizing them to work during specific hours, let them have the autonomy to choose the timeframe that suits their lifestyle best.
There are several ways to offer flexible work arrangements, so it is important to find the right approach that works best for each medical facility. Some common approaches include providing remote working opportunities, allowing providers to offer online consultations one day per week, or offering compressed work weeks. It is also important to provide support and resources so healthcare providers can adapt to changes in their working schedules.
Reduce Administrative and Technological Burdens
Revenue cycle management in the healthcare industry is complex, comprising a ton of monotonous clerical tasks, which can exhaust a healthcare provider’s time and resources. According to one report by Medscape, 56% of healthcare providers list administrative burdens, e.g. charting and paperwork, as the leading cause of experiencing burnout. Therefore, medical facilities should collect feedback from healthcare providers about the effectiveness of systems, such as electronic medical records (EMRs) and electronic health records (EHRs).
EHR and EMR systems are complex to learn and use, acting as a barrier to quality care. Healthcare providers often express frustration while using them as they feel the increased documentation required by health records results in a drop in care quality. According to the American Association for Physician Leadership, healthcare providers have reported that for every minute they spend with a patient, they have to spend two additional minutes on the computer. In addition to time spent in patient care, a 60-hour week is required just to keep up with documentation on the EMRs, which puts a strain on the personal lives of healthcare providers.
One way to mitigate administrative and technological stress is to outsource the strenuous data-entry process. Medical facilities around the world are now opting to outsource medical billing processes to companies that are better equipped at handling the many intricacies of revenue cycle management. By hiring the services of an outsourcing company, medical facilities do not have to spend money on training healthcare providers or investing in the latest EMRs. Moreover, healthcare providers can cut down time spent on administrative tasks by up to 80% and better utilize their time to deliver premium care to patients.
Provide Regularly Scheduled Time Off
The best way to prevent physician burnout is to maintain a healthy work-life balance by spending time away from work. This means setting aside time for yourself outside of work, whether for hobbies, spending time with loved ones, or simply going for a walk. Regularly scheduled time off helps alleviate fatigue by providing the mind and body a break from the daily grind. Moreover, as healthcare providers find healthy ways to blow off steam, they also become more efficient at their jobs.
However, just taking short breaks from work alone can not combat physician burnout. A medical facility’s workplace culture plays an imperative role in preventing physician burnout. Medical facilities need to be more attentive to the needs of their physicians and respect their time and limits. When dealing with healthcare providers going through emotional turmoil, medical facilities should prioritize their well-being over revenue and consider reducing the number of patients they see.
Combatting Physician Burnout One Step At a Time
Physician burnout is a pressing issue that has reached epidemic levels. In fact, it seems as though more and more physicians are falling victim to this all-consuming syndrome each year. Too often, doctors feel overextended and unsupported. At its worst, physician burnout can result in negligent care or even the abuse of patients. To prevent this, medical facilities need to set a healthy work environment for their healthcare providers where their feel heard and seen. Simultaneously, healthcare providers must be attentive to their emotional state and reach out to relevant authorities when they recognize early signs of burnout, such as stress or anxiety.