How Physician Burnout Can Impact a Hospital’s Bottom Line

May 11, 2019  |  Category: Physicians

It’s easy for hospitals to overlook the top- and bottom-line impact of something as amorphous as the “physician work environment”, because it’s hard to quantify. Contributing factors include the voice physicians have in hospital decisions, the tools they’re given to work with, and the respect with which they are treated.

For a variety of compelling business reasons, healthcare systems should attend to their physician experience with the same level of care and intention as their patient experience. Here are three ways that improving physicians’ work environment can help to bolster a hospital’s bottom line:

  • Greater physician retention – The Society of Human Resource Management found that employers on average spend six to nine months of an employee’s salary finding and training their replacement. Apply those figures to a physician’s salary and it’s enough to cause concern for even the most profitable hospitals. Hospital executives can reduce both recruitment expenses and the ripples of operational disruption that accompany any staff turnover by investing in physicians’ professional experience and satisfaction.
  • Enhanced quality care – By giving each physician additional time back in his or her day, he or she then is able to do more of the things they got into medicine to do, such as: follow up or double back on items that required more information; collaborate with colleagues; and conceive new and innovative approaches to patient care delivery. Not only does this result in enhanced care quality, but it also drives greater hospital reimbursements.
  • Improved patient outcomes – When physicians spend more time engaging with their patients, research has shown that patients tend to listen more closely, follow instructions, and generally collaborate more in their healthcare. Research also has consistently shown that when the physician is happier, the patient is happier and ultimately directly impacts the hospital’s reputation and bottom line.

Creating a physician-centric work environment should be a high priority for healthcare system leaders. An improved work environment doesn’t just benefit physicians, but patients and the entire hospital enterprise, as well.

This post was adapted from a commentary originally published in Electronic Health Reporter.

Chief Medical Officer
Dr. Maiona helps guide PatientKeeper customers in how they can improve their physician experience and clinical outcomes utilizing PatientKeeper products, and brings a clinical voice to the product design and implementation processes. Dr. Maiona has devoted much of his career to hospital medicine, both as a practicing physician and executive at provider organizations. Prior to joining PatientKeeper, Dr. Maiona was national medical director at Team Health and IPC Healthcare, focused on performance improvement, patient experience and quality. Previously, he was in charge of hospital medicine at several multi-site practice groups in the Boston area and Maine. He began his career as a hospitalist in Macon, Georgia. Dr. Maiona received bachelor’s degrees from Boston College and University of Massachusetts/Amherst, and his medical degree from St. George’s University School of Medicine. Board certified in Internal Medicine, he is an Instructor in Medicine at Tufts University School of Medicine, and is active in the Society of Hospital Medicine, where he is a Senior Fellow Hospital Medicine (SFHM).