Last year, we posted a blog to discuss how the right EHR software can and should reduce physician and staff burnout. The world has changed a lot since then, needless to say. However, burnout among healthcare providers is still a very serious issue. According to a 2020 Medscape report on Physician Suicide & Burnout, 42 percent of responding physicians reported feelings of burnout. While this is a 4 percent overall drop from five years ago, it is still a fairly high amount. Of the physicians who participated, the highest levels of burnout were seen among specialty providers.
The Cause & Effect of Burnout
According to the same Medscape report, 33 percent of physicians reported “Spending too many hours at work” as a main contributing factor to their burnout. In fact, spending an excessive amount of time at work was the second most reported factor for overall burnout, second only to “bureaucratic tasks.” It would seem that most physician burnout is being fueled by a combination of too much required documentation and needing to spend too much time at the office dealing with said paperwork.
The effect of all this burnout is far more than just unhappy doctors and lower staff morale. The financial costs of burnout are very real. In fact, a 2019 study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that physician burnout was “associated with negative clinical and organizational outcomes” and adds roughly $4.6 billion a year in costs to the healthcare industry.
Telehealth: A Solution to Burnout
The recent surge in the use of connected care solutions, initially caused by the spread of COVID-19 but now here to stay, has highlighted telehealth’s value as a healthcare tool as well as its potential for reducing physician burnout.
- Work from Anywhere – Addressing the number one concern of spending too many hours at work. Telehealth, in addition to other strategies such as utilization of a cloud-based solution, allows providers the opportunity and convenience to provide care from anywhere. A change of scenery or the ability to complete the second part of your day from home can help with this.
- Time-Saving Efficiencies – With the flexibility of an integrated telehealth solution, doctors have the ability to complete charting and administrative tasks during a visit without sacrificing any quality of care. This means less hours spent documenting, saving time not only during the day but also after hours.
- Reduce Room-to-Room Rush – For providers who do not have telehealth, each workday can feel like a never-ending rush. In the struggle to keep wait times to a minimum, there is often little time to even breathe between rushing from one exam room to the other to see patient after patient. Supplementing appointments with telehealth can greatly reduce this, leading to less stress.
- Less Hectic Schedules – This includes both the patient and the physician. Providers can use telehealth to greatly reduce burnout from heavily booked appointment schedules. Telehealth gives them the ability to see more patients each day, in less time. For patients, scheduling a telehealth appointment is far more convenient for their schedules as well, since they do not have to travel to the practice or take time off from work.
Are your providers or staff experiencing burnout? To learn how Nextech’s Telehealth solution, currently being offered complimentary to our providers, can help reduce stress in your practice. Fill out this form and a member of our team will be in touch soon.