Physician burnout is real.
According to the first ever Medical Economics physician burnout survey released in August 2019, more than 92 percent of physicians have experienced burnout, 68% currently feel burnt out, and 73% have wanted to quit the practice of medicine as a result of burnout. That’s based on feedback from over 1200 doctors.
Given an aging population with greater healthcare needs, health insurance challenges, hospital system profitability, increased focus on patient satisfaction, concerns about patient safety, and all of the other pressures that the industry faces, losing medical professionals to burnout is not one than anyone can ignore.
Luckily, that’s where healthcare IT can offer significant benefits, as TAGNOS CEO Neeraj Bhavani explains below.
Understanding Physician Burnout
Before discussing healthcare IT, though, let’s look at the reasons for burnout and what physicians see as solutions.
What Are Reasons for Physician Burnout?
You can imagine some of the reasons that contribute to burnout: too little time and too much to do; emotional intensity; pressure…
More specifically, survey respondents mention too much paperwork and regulations, too many hours, electronic health records (EHRs), lack of autonomy/career control and feeling overwhelmed by patient needs.
According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ),
“Work conditions, such as time pressure, chaotic environments, low control over work pace, and unfavorable organizational culture, were strongly associated with physicians’ feelings of dissatisfaction, stress, burnout, and intent to leave the practice. However, physicians’ reactions to these work conditions were not consistently associated with quality of patient care. The investigators’ interpretation was that, although physicians are affected by work conditions, their reactions do not translate into poorer quality care because the physicians act as buffers between the work environment and patient care. When lower quality care was seen, the investigators found it was the organization that burned doctors out that led to lower quality care, rather than the burned-out doctors themselves.”
Interestingly, about EHRs, AHRQ further explains,
“The MEMO study also found that the hope that electronic health records (EHRs) in the workplace would reduce stress has not been realized; in fact, implementation of an EHR can contribute to burnout. Researchers found that practices that implemented electronic health records saw in increase in stress as EHR use matured and then a decrease, but stress did not return to the baseline. Additionally, fully mature EHR systems, especially with shorter visits, were associated with physician stress, burnout, and intent to leave the practice…”
What Are Solutions to Physician Burnout?
The Medical Economics Physician Burnout Survey 2019 includes qualitative responses. To the question about burnout solutions, one in particular shines: Physicians Leading the Future of Medicine.
In other words, physicians can embrace the future and make use of technology in healthcare to address those tasks that add hours and drudgery, and take away from valuable time focused on patients. Combine that with better workflows, less paperwork, and restoring physician autonomy.
How Can Healthcare IT Alleviate Physician Burnout?
Medical Economics next took its survey results to leaders of Health IT organizations. Fourteen executives shared perspective in 14 ways that Health IT can decrease physician burnout, including TAGNOS’ own CEO, Neeraj Bhavani.
Here is what he shares:
“The finding in Medical Economics’ 2019 Physician Burnout Survey th that 73% of respondents have felt like quitting the practice of medicine because of burnout is deeply concerning.
Health IT, specifically predictive analytics, can help address this issue by enabling better patient flow and providing tools to locate staffing and equipment resources more quickly–which decreases overtime due to increased efficiencies.”
The future of medicine includes artificial intelligence and machine learning to provide truly unified workflows, mobile communication and prediction to help manage the chaos. When it comes to optimizing operating room turnover and patient throughput, the best solution involves combining the power of real-time locating with AI.
That’s how to alleviate physician burnout.
For additional perspective, read How AI and Machine Learning Deliver Hospital Operational Improvement and Adventist Health Improves Operating Room Turnover Times with RFID.
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