Burnout among healthcare practitioners has become so extensive in the U.S. that the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health regarded it a public health crisis. With the ever-mounting administrative tasks fast taking hold, the majority of care providers feel stretched too thin today.
Burnout among healthcare practitioners not only leads to diminished patient care but is also a growing source of exasperation that persuades many to withdraw from the industry altogether.
While healthcare practitioners may not be able to take care of all aspects of burnout, they can surely start addressing many of these by leveraging some of the many technological solutions available. This can provide them with a more efficient, unified solution to function.
Physician burnout happens to be one of the most complex issues in the healthcare realm today, one that requires immediate addressal.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) had predicted that by 2020, there will be a shortage of nearly 90,000 physicians nationwide.
Some common challenges impacting practitioners today include:
More often than not, hospitals choose an Electronic Health Record (EHR) system that has the physician facing the screen as opposed to the one that allows for patients and care physicians to speak with each other.
Uncoordinated communication that occurs as a result of this leads hospitals to waste millions of dollars each year. It also leads to inefficient care, siloed information, delays in treatment, and an overall lack of understanding.
Another common problem faced by healthcare practitioners today is that there are more types of data, more data sources, and varied data timing needs (real-time vs. near real-time) than there ever have been.
It has become increasingly vital for this data to be actionable. For instance, without systems that manage these huge troves of data, providers may miss important details from either excessive alerts or none at all, leading them to set aside best practices and rather start feeling overwhelmed by the amount of information at hand.
Inefficiencies often come from the non-intuitive workflow of EHRs and the resulting demands placed upon them.
The growing number of administrative tasks imposed on physicians and care teams, such as refilling prescriptions and staff scheduling, divert focus and time away from other more important tasks. The result: physician burnout!
Now that we’ve looked at a few underlying reasons that lead to burnout among healthcare practitioners, let us move to the crux of this article.
Technology has touched every aspect of our lives today. It can be especially instrumental in streamlining workflows and schedules for physicians to take all that excess workload off their shoulders and mitigate feelings of fatigue, be it physical or mental.
Here are some of the ways modern healthcare technological solutions can help overcome this problem:
Telehealth adoption lowers the risk of physician burnout in the following ways:
Since telehealth adoption lessens physicians’ stress by optimizing schedules, ameliorating work-life balance, and reducing commute times, they feel more relaxed when they deliver care through this medium. They’re also more focused on patients, which results in a better patient experience.
Healthcare practitioners can significantly tailor their EHR workflows to meet the requirements of their practice by pairing it with an integrated software solution. Implementing software with an EMR integration can improve your practice’s efficiency while reducing workload by automating certain tasks.
Some EHR integrations can also keep patients informed about your real-time availability online and allow them to receive appointment reminders by automatically syncing appointments booked to your calendar. Certain integrations also allow you to send post-appointment patient feedback requests to help strengthen your reputation online.
Automating your front office can help reduce your and your staff’s workload, freeing up your time to focus on patient experience and care.
The best healthcare software allows you to automate most office functions while still staying in the background. When the software fades away to allow for more personal interactions, it is truly operating at its peak efficiency. By carefully researching your options, you can discover the software solutions that do this most effectively.
Wearable devices have gone down to become one of the most rapidly growing healthcare technology solutions that can aid healthcare practitioners stay productive throughout their work day without suffering at the hands of a burnout.
Wearable technology can be a highly instrumental tool in developing a healthier and user-centric environment at work, especially devices such as smart watches, fitness trackers, wearable glasses and sport watches.
Healthy practitioners will naturally miss fewer work days, which directly translates to enhanced productivity on their part, improved morale, fewer errors, and practitioners maintaining a healthy body weight that rids them of lethargy.
Another notable benefit of wearable devices is that they are an excellent way to get healthier with colleagues whilst also promoting a little bit of healthy competition. By syncing fitness devices together, both healthcare practitioners and their staff can set challenges and encourage each other along the way, helping make fitness fun. It can make for more inclusiveness and get staff from different departments talking by giving them some common ground.
Wearable technology can also help address safety issues such as stress monitoring and fatigue by tracking the practitioner’s heart rate and also regulating their sleep pattern. Viewing real life data gives them the opportunity to tackle health-related issues head on.
While the issue of burnout within the healthcare industry is a complex, ever-changing challenge, technology is continually presenting new ways for us to address it, head-on.
Innovations in Artificial Intelligence are fast leading us to solutions that help restructure patient data and redistribute administrative work for not only enhancing provider workflows, but gaining a more holistic understanding of individuals’ health, as well. Creating a coherent workflow for practitioners can have a direct impact on reducing physician burnout, and improving the overall care experience.
New solutions that can and will make a significant impact on how we deliver and receive quality care are emerging on the horizon as we speak. In order for them to take hold, there is a need for a system that’s open to technological innovation — and chooses to embrace it.