We ask our doctors to do too much. No wonder they burned out. – The health blog
From GAIL PEACE
We have heard the phrases “doctor tiredness” and “burnout” too often in the past year – and for good reason. Covid-19 has placed an incredible burden on our healthcare providers. As healthcare professionals, however, doctors’ burnout statistics are not new to us.
We have seen similar trends and statistics for years. Covid-19 did not cause the current state of doctor burnout, it only exacerbated it and further uncovered critical issues with expectations of doctors in today’s healthcare system. Ludi conducted a survey of doctors across the country which confirmed this exact theory:
- 68 percent of doctors see their profession as pessimistic or indifferent
- 48 percent describe the relationship with their hospital partners / employers as combative or at best transactional
We have to ask ourselves: What is the reason for this dissatisfaction and how can hospitals adapt better to their doctor partners?
68 percent of the doctors surveyed stated that they were burdened with too much administrative effort. For the most part, our industry blames EHRs for dominating admin time, but of the doctors we surveyed, EHRs are only part of the problem. In fact, 54 percent of doctors said they did they spend 1-3 hours a day on administrative work outside of EHR time, another 35 percent spend more than 4 hours a day doing similar tasks.
Let’s put that into perspective. In addition to seeing patients, recording in EHRs, and all the other things doctors are expected to do to care for patients, doctors also spend at least another 1-3 hours a day doing “everything else”. Everything else includes meetings, training, compliance, guidelines, etc.
We ask our doctors to do too much. No wonder they burned out.
To enable better coordination with doctors, hospitals need to Empowering doctors to focus on what they do best and pay them appropriately to do the work.
The numbers speak for themselves and the ball rests with the hospitals to work with doctors so they can focus on patient care. In response, we are already seeing an unprecedented redesign of compensation across the industry to better align the priorities of doctors and hospitals. But these comp redesigns are only part of the solution. There are many low hanging fruits that hospitals can now use to improve their doctor relationships – and it all starts with reducing the administrative burden.
First, hospitals should consider how and where technology can be used effectively within the nuances of their operations. You can start by asking yourself a few key questions, such as: Are there any tasks or processes that doctors are currently doing on paper that could be automated? What does this manual process involve and how does it affect different departments? What are the most time consuming tasks for doctors every day, every month?
Of course, hospitals should also find out why they are implementing new automation in the first place. That is, they should look for specific pain points (and agree on the priority of those pain points), and with direct feedback from those involved, in this case from the doctors. If a hospital implements a solution that doesn’t take into account the daily routine or the doctor’s workflow, the new automation is likely to fail. And when you are dealing with doctors, you want to make the solution as easy and quick as possible when you have to do everything else during the day.
But the fact is, when it comes to automation technology, more than 83 percent of doctors we surveyed agreed that automation technology, which focuses on reducing administrative burdens, improves their productivity and job satisfaction. This is good news for hospitals.
Why? Because less time doctors spend on administrative tasks means more time for patients and other more meaningful tasks. And that’s a win-win situation for everyone.
Ultimately, hospitals should always focus on what else they can do to support their employees from a moral standpoint. I worked for health systems where we had the option to drop off dry cleaning in the lobby – an easy task that doctors may not have time to do given their demanding schedule. Now, take this example, apply it to the bigger picture, and get started.
So what are you waiting for?
Gail Peace is the founder and CEO of Ludi, Inc., a health technology company that makes it easier for hospitals to pay doctors.
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