Physician burnout is an epidemic in America as more and more physicians and medical professionals are struggling to love what they do. Characterized by the depersonalization or negative detached response to their jobs, physicians all over are at experiencing burnout as a result of being overworked and being forced to remove their focus from their patients and onto more administrative centered tasks. Burnout is dangerous and can lead to poor clinical decision making, job dissatisfaction, suicidal ideation, and feelings of ineffectiveness in one’s job and personal life.
Common Causes of Physician Burnout
1) Too Much on Their Plate
One of the most common causes of physician burnout is that their workload is overflowing with administrative responsibilities. So much so that they become overwhelmed during their efforts. This is compounded with the need to stay present in their home and personal life and can cause a physician to resent their job as the source of their stress.
2) Lack of Focus on the Patient
When a student dreams of being a doctor someday, they dream of helping patients in need achieve their health goals and tackle daunting diagnoses. They do not imagine being trapped at their computers for hours on end, documenting, charting, and filing claims. When this reality hits a new physician, it may not feel terrible at first, but over time they start to forget why they wanted to be a doctor in the first place. The lack of focus that exists toward that patient in today’s healthcare leaves providers feeling defeated and increases physician burnout.
3) Poor Online Reputation
In today’s world, when a patient has a poor experience, they do not hesitate to report their findings online. If your practice is not running well and your physicians are experiencing burnout, your patients are more likely to have a negative experience. As a poor online reputation starts to blossom, the feeling of job dissatisfaction and feelings of ineffectiveness that are classically associated with physician burnout will increase amongst your staff.
This cause of physician burnout is commonly associated with doctors who work in fast-paced settings like an Emergency Department. Long hours can be taxing on a physician. Without proper rest, the quality of their clinical decision-making decreases and poor outcomes increase as a result. From there, a domino effect takes place and the consequences of physician burnout affect all areas of your practice.
5) Lack of Personal Time
With too much on their place and an inability to spend time focusing on their home and personal life, physician burnout is greatly affected by this lack of personal time. It can be difficult as a busy physician to keep your home life and personal time a priority, but it essential to reducing burnout and improving your quality of life. A lack of personal time increases depersonalization and the feeling that your life has a purpose.
Solutions for Physician Burnout
1) Respect Their Time
Practice executives should take steps to respect and protect a physician’s time. This means restrictions should be placed on the number of hours a provider is allowed to work in a row before they should be forced to rest. It also means creating boundaries for the provider, allowing them to have clear time cut out for their own lives.
2) Health Practice Technology
Health practice technology like a high performing, specialty-specific EHR can reduce physician burnout by reducing the administrative load for each physician while also improving practice efficiency and enabling providers to spend more time with their patients. Arguably one of the most important tools for reducing physician burnout, your EHR, Practice Management Software, and Billing software greatly impact how a physician is able to do their job and interact with patients.
Lastly, simply keeping an open ear available to the concerns of your staffed physicians is essential to reducing physician burnout. The more trust built into your processes, the more understanding and patient your providers will be with the demands of their job.
To learn more about how a quality EHR can help you reduce physician burnout, click here.