Three Ways Healthcare IT Can Mitigate Physician Burnout
For years, electronic health records (EHRs) have contributed to the physician burnout epidemic due to their convoluted clinical workflows and user interfaces. Then, if that weren’t enough, the COVID-19 pandemic created new pressures, accelerated digital transformation efforts, and increased data reporting guidelines, leaving more than 15,000 physicians feeling the effects of burnout.
Even prior to the pandemic, on any given day, for every hour a physician spent directly interacting with a patient, they spent two hours on administrative tasks and EHR data entry. Now with COVID-19 and more rigorous guidelines for reporting patient data, providers’ administrative duties have increased. In fact, almost two-thirds (64%) of U.S. physicians surveyed in a recent report from Medscape feel as though the pandemic had intensified their sense of burnout.
Here are three ways health IT can lighten the burden among healthcare workers and reduce physician burnout:
- Provide Mobile Access — While technology has made mobile access to information easier in most industries, mobile access to patient records, PACS images, and other valuable healthcare information has lagged. Obtaining instantaneous access to patient information through mobile devices enhances physician workflow. Providers can spend less time behind the computer screen and more time interacting with their patients, which is why they chose the profession in the first place.
- Optimize Clinician-Facing IT — In an ideal world, physicians would have one foundational system that they interact with, and all other applications would simply co-exist within that environment. A well-optimized EHR is not one-size-fits-all. Rather, it can be personalized to present data in a way that is consistent with each physician’s thought process and workflow, enabling the physician to act on information quickly and accurately to provide care-in-the-moment.
- Improve Revenue Cycle Integration — While the healthcare industry’s long-term goal is to remove providers entirely from the charge entry process — to reduce administrative burden and improve the overall physician experience — this may not be possible immediately. That said, hospitals can improve the physician experience, while simultaneously ensuring revenue isn’t lost through the cracks, by incorporating a charge-note reconciliation tool that automates the reconciliation process to match physicians’ clinical notes with charges for each patient encounter. For example, a note that mentions an x-ray was taken, but wasn’t billed for, allows coders to catch the error and find revenue where it otherwise might have been lost. Simultaneously, this also serves to reduce the administrative burden on the provider.
As COVID-19 cases surge in fall 2020, healthcare workers will continue to be pushed to their limits, working long hours to treat critically ill patients in a clinical and business environment under strain from multiple contributing factors — shrinking margins, decreasing workforce, limited resources, and increased regulations. It is absolutely essential that healthcare organizations equip providers with the technology they need now to reduce the physician burnout epidemic that has been exacerbated by COVID-19.
Learn more about how PatientKeeper technology can reduce the physician burnout epidemic at www.patientkeeper.com.