Physician burnout has been a genuine concern in recent years. According to a survey conducted by the American Medical Association, over half of all doctors report experiencing burnout symptoms, such as exhaustion and cynicism, which can negatively impact their productivity and patient care. Hospitalists face additional challenges related to their role as independent contractors.
By leveraging technology to automate routine tasks and streamline the documentation process, acute care physicians can reduce the burden of administrative work and prevent burnout.
Here are a few ways hospitalists can leverage technology to improve productivity and prevent burnout and common causes of burnout to watch for.
Using Centralized Practice Management Apps
Hospitalists can use centralized practice management apps to capitalize on next gen levels of artificial intelligence driven medical billing and documenting to streamline administrative tasks, such as determining diagnosis codes by the context, evaluate the accuracy of available information, process insurance claims for the highest clean claim rates, and manage the flow and sync of patient records.
These apps can help hospitalists to improve their productivity and reduce the risk of burnout by automating routine tasks and reducing the burden of paper records.
When looking for a hospitalist billing app, it is important to consider the following factors:
- Ease of use – the app should be user-friendly and easy to navigate.
- Integration with EHRs – the app should seamlessly integrate with the hospitalist’s electronic health record system to ensure that all relevant information is captured and stored in a central location.
- Customization options – the app should allow for customization to meet the specific needs of the hospitalist’s practice and the facility.
- Security – the app should have robust security measures to protect patient data while adhering to HIPAA compliance rules.
- Support – the app should offer ongoing support and training to ensure that hospitalists can use the app effectively.
Overall, centralized practice management apps can be a valuable tool for hospitalists looking to improve their productivity and reduce the risk of burnout. By choosing an app that meets the specific needs of their practice and provides robust security and support, hospitalists can effectively leverage technology to enhance their practice management.
Using Electronic Health Records (EHRs)
EHRs and smart EHR enhancers can streamline the documentation process and reduce the burden of paper records. According to a survey conducted by the American Medical Association, doctors who use EHRs report a significant reduction in the amount of time they spend on administrative tasks, which can help to prevent burnout.
EHRs offer several benefits to hospitalists, including:
- Improved efficiency – EHRs streamline point-of-care documentation and patient progress notes while reducing the burden of paper records.
- Enhanced patient care – EHRs provide hospitalists with real-time access to a patient’s medical history, including previous diagnoses, medications, and treatment plans. This can help acute care physicians provide more informed and personalized patient care.
- Improved communication – EHRs can also facilitate communication with other healthcare providers, allowing them to share patient information and collaborate on treatment plans. This can improve the coordination of care and reduce the risk of duplication or gaps.
- Reduced risk of errors – EHRs can help reduce the risk of errors, such as misdiagnosis or medication errors, by providing hospitalists and care teams with access to accurate and up-to-date patient information.
So what if the facility is still using paper records and charts? Print your notes to a secure printer in the facility to add to the patient’s file.
Using Wearable Devices
Wearable devices, such as smartwatches or fitness trackers, can track vital signs and provide doctors with real-time data about their patients’ health. This can improve patient care and reduce the hospitalist’s workload.
Some benefits for hospitalists using wearable devices include:
- Access to background information – wearable technology, such as smartwatches or fitness trackers, can track patients’ sleep patterns, heart rate, physical exercise, dietary habits, etc. This can help doctors to identify potential health problems early and provide timely interventions to prevent the progression of conditions.
- Improved patient engagement – hospitalists can also use wearable technology to encourage patients to be more proactive about their health by giving them feedback and motivation to make healthy lifestyle choices. This can help to improve patient engagement and promote better health outcomes.
- Enhanced productivity – wearable technology can help hospitalists improve their productivity by providing real-time data about their patient’s health and reducing the need for in-person visits. This can free up more time for doctors to focus on other aspects of patient care.
Wearables also translate to medical QR code scanners worn by patients while in hospitals so that physicians can simply scan their chart or wristband to bring up all their vital information, demographics, histories, medications, allergies, and notes from other doctors sharing coverage. Hospitalists can also use wearables to track their own health metrics to promote work-life balance and self-care.
Leading Causes of Physician Burnout
It’s unsurprising that many people working in the medical field — particularly in acute care — are experiencing burnout after the events of the global pandemic. However, the extreme circumstances associated with that period aren’t the only contributing factors to physician burnout. While the pandemic exacerbated many underlying causes, physician burnout has always been an issue.
Some of the leading causes of physician burnout include:
- Administrative burden – hospitalists perform a lot of time-consuming and tedious administrative tasks. Implementing automation and technology can help remove these from overburdened physicians.
- Lack of work-life balance – another factor contributing to physician burnout is a lack of work-life balance. According to a survey conducted by Medscape, doctors who work more than 40 hours per week are more likely to report feelings of burnout than those who work fewer hours.
- Poor organizational culture – A poor organizational culture, characterized by a lack of support and collaboration, can also contribute to physician burnout. This is a challenge for hospitalists who may have to navigate various facilities and feel removed from the core team.
- Compassion fatigue – also known as “secondary traumatic stress,” can occur when doctors are exposed to a high volume of patients with serious or chronic illnesses, which can lead to feelings of burnout. Care providers who experience compassion fatigue are more likely to report feelings of burnout.
Hospitalists are often at increased risk of burnout due to the nuanced stressors in their job, such as juggling a large caseload, traveling between hospitals, and managing the self-employment aspect of their role. Fortunately, they can reduce burnout by leveraging technology to automate routine tasks and streamline the documentation process. Putting the right tools in place will help improve workflows and enhance the quality of patient care.