Physician Burnout - It's here to stay, so what can we do to reduce it?

Physician Burnout – It’s here to stay, so what can we do to reduce it?

Physician burnout is real. It has been around for decades because of mounting administrative tasks and has been heightened by the COVID-19 pandemic. But we can reduce, if not eliminate burnout, from our practices. Here’s what needs to happen to make it so.  

Leverage data – it is readily available and makes physicians’ jobs, and that of their supporting staff, easier 

Imagine: Patient #1 enters a physician’s office, and after answering a few questions, the physician determines he has pink eye.

Patient #2 is with established hypertension is next, and after a series of questions and a blood pressure measurement, her blood pressure management status is confirmed, and the provider may renews her medications.

Patient #3 with established heart failure arrives and shows signs of symptom worsening  but must sit, wait, and be evaluated before confirming the diagnosis. Then the arduous process of getting him admitted to the hospital begins.

This typical scenario in medical settings across the country contributes to increased frustrations and burnout. 

Had this scenario started with the physicians having access to data upfront, it would have allowed them to prioritize the patient with the highest clinical risk (heart failure) and decide on the appropriate level of care versus adhering to restrictive and inefficient “best practices.” 

Now imagine the right technology is provided to the physician’s practice. This allows for efficient information gathering, which subsequently enables a physician to use their clinical expertise to guide the patient journey prior to any patient encounter. This has the capacity to make treatment more clinically and cost effective,  while increasing patient satisfaction, and – ultimately – improving the practice environment for health care professionals. 

Include patients in their care protocols through virtual navigators, physicians, and other supports

Giving patients access to their care – digitally – empowers them to work with their providers by actively sharing their health information at everyone’s convenience. This helps the physician make better care recommendations and improve the patient experience.    

Here’s an added benefit: When patients respond at their convenience, they are more comfortable, and when they are at ease, they are willing to answer difficult questions with truthful responses.

At CareHive, we have built a mechanism that focuses on data precision. Our digital platform gathers data from all our patient interactions to be more precise with engagement. That data engagement allows physicians to improve the patient experience while improving the work environment for health care professionals.

Analytics are essential, prompting patients and physicians to make appropriate data-driven decisions.

Getting information from the patient or the health insurance plan is key to driving the analytics that help inform patient care decisions. For this to happen, you must have patients provide important health information like their blood pressure numbers or continuous glucose monitor (CGM) data.

But it would help if you had analytics to help optimize that engagement. To get the necessary data to power your analytics, you need to fine-tune the approach that might prompt a 40-year-old Medicaid patient versus a Medicare patient versus a commercial patient to share that information with you (a provider). The trick is identifying the correct incentive for the patient to share data regularly and mechanisms to make that data easy to interpret on the physician’s side.

More patient engagement leads to more data and opportunities to optimize navigation pathways. That is CareHive’s goal: to create a data-driven system that learns from each patient interaction, allowing for the  (precise navigation of patients with chronic disease) precise navigation of patient treatment.

You must measure this new system’s clinical and financial benefits to discover how it impacts overall quality, the value of care provided, and how it reduces workforce burnout.  

Moving to a more data-driven, navigation-based delivery system means outcome data becomes essential to measure the impacts of this system on patients and clinical staff.

For starters, clinic leadership needs to reframe quality of care for chronic disease to include access to care and time for appropriate treatment, both of which should be significantly enabled by this system. Additionally, this allows clinicians to spend facetime in front of the right patients. In contrast, other patients can be appropriately guided to the best outcome without needing an office-based visit. This system should optimize the measurement of these important facets of care- access, time to treatment, and visit duration.

 We also need a data-driven approach to addressing physician and staff burnout: start by collecting survey data about burnout to establish a baseline and then address the findings systematically in a data driven way.

Navigators can be crucial in reducing burnout – with both clinical and administrative staff

Implementing navigators is necessary to drive a data-centric, efficient, value-based system that is both patient friendly and reduces burnout for health care professionals. 

The navigator prompts patients to provide data, including necessary health metrics such as blood pressure readings and medication reminders. This allows physicians and nurses to address all relevant treatment protocols. 

Think of the navigator as an air traffic controller; someone with access to technology that can:

  • Guide patients through the appropriate administrative “flight pattern” (collecting data, then triaging the data).
  • Ensure the patient lands on the suitable “runway” – receiving the proper treatment protocol to meet their health care needs.

The Big Picture

These steps create a system that can revolutionize the health care industry. And CareHive continues to provide the technology component that creates critical infrastructure for this system. We’re excited to be one of the early architects and continue to be inspired as more health care providers adopt this approach to clinical care.

For more information on how CareHive can help prevent physician burnout for your organization, contact us here.

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