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Help With Physician Burnout and Other Challenges Physicians Face

Posted by Travis Bond

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Aug 9, 2017 5:45:20 PM

To find articles with advice on help with physician burnout and other healthcare topics, subscribe to the CareSync blog.In this article, CareSync CEO Travis Bond lists 3 of the top workforce challenges facing healthcare organizations today, including advice for getting help with physician burnout.

1. Keeping Employees Engaged

According to the EY Health Advisory Survey 2017, healthcare organizations are “struggling to identify talent and keep their employees engaged.”

From the survey abstract:

"Our survey found that only 12% of respondents rated their clinical ancillary staff as 'highly engaged,' and a mere 8% answered that their administrative staff are 'highly engaged.' This is especially concerning because the administrative and frontline staff are often the first point of contact for patients, and may help provide long-term patient support.”

Find help with physician burnout and other challenges physicians face.

Thoughts on Employee Engagement

To better engage these individuals, consider:

  • Leading by example: Attitudes can be contagious. When physicians and nurses can demonstrate positivity and engagement, they are likely to inspire the same among technicians and administrative personnel. Thank employees who are making a positive impact on patients and colleagues.
  • Opening the lines of communication: Give employees a voice. When concerns are raised, address them in a timely manner. When processes have to be changed, communicate with the people who will be affected so they have a chance to be heard. Establish the ability to bring up potential issues and potential solutions before they become actual obstacles.
  • Listening: Recognize that everyone in the organization who interacts with patients may have ideas about how to improve the patient experience. Ask them if there is anything in their way of providing better care or if there is anything they feel can contribute to improved patient satisfaction. Give them a sense of ownership in delivering better care as an integral member of the care team.

2. Shifting to Value-Based Reimbursement

About one-quarter of the 700 health executives polled by EY said they had no value-based reimbursement initiatives planned for 2017.

Help with physician burnout can be found for doctors who are looking to reduce stress.

Thoughts on Value-Based Care Initiatives

Change is never easy, but with the entire industry continuing to shift toward this reimbursement model, doing nothing isn’t a feasible option.

One of the most natural ways to start adopting value-based reimbursement initiatives is to implement a Chronic Care Management (CCM) program in your practice. Here are some thoughts to consider:

  • Choosing an experienced, reputable third party to provide CCM to your patients on your behalf can make providing non-face-to-face care coordination services more efficient and successful  
  • CCM offers not only a way to improve patient health and increase practice revenue, but also to report several quality and performance measures for MACRA (the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015), preparing you for success with yet another value-based initiative
  • There is the impending possibility of negative payment adjustments if you aren’t prepared for MACRA when we enter the second performance year on January 1, 2018, so taking action now is a timely business decision
  • CCM and care coordination services provided through a third party help to reduce the administrative burden associated with value-based initiatives, which is especially important for physicians and nurses who are already stretched thin
Read more about new CCM opportunities for RHCs and FQHCs.3. Physician Burnout

According to the Medscape Lifestyle Report 2017, 51% of physicians reported experiencing frequent or constant feelings of burnout in 2017, up from 40 percent in 2013. That’s over a 25% increase in just four years.

The highest percentages of burnout occurred among physicians practicing emergency medicine (59%), followed by OB/GYNs (56%), and family physicians, internists, and infectious disease physicians (all at 55%).

Thoughts on Reducing Physician Burnout

  • Understand what it is. In "Addressing Physician Burnout: The Way Forward," authors from the Mayo Clinic wrote, "A variety of factors contribute to physician burnout. Excessive workload, clerical burden and inefficiency in the practice environment, a loss of control over work, problems with work-life integration, and erosion of meaning in work are all factors." 
  • Recognize what causes physician burnout and what you can do to manage it. Starting with the article, “Physician Burnout: Its Origin, Symptoms, and Five Main Causes,” a three-part series posted on the www.AAFP.org website, offers excellent insight into: the factors that often drain your physical, emotional, and spiritual energy; ways to lower physician stress levels; and an ongoing strategy for recharging your energy stores and creating better work-life balance.
  • Seek support from others for help with physician burnout. You can look into joining wellness committees like those offered by the American Medical Association and several hospitals. Usually composed of physician leaders, these committees meet regularly to discuss physician burnout and ways to address it in their respective fields.
Visit the CareSync blog to find help with physician burnout and other challenges physicians face.

A Final Note On Help With Physician Burnout

Consider the following advice for reducing physician burnout from Dr. Melissa DeCapua, DNP, PMHNP, a board-certified psychiatric nurse practitioner.

In her article, “5 Ways to Address Clinician Burnout,” Dr. DeCapau suggested implementing team-based care. “Engage other members of the healthcare team in patient care,” she wrote. “A 2015 study published in the Journal of Family Practice found that team-based care improves patient outcomes, increases access to care, decreases costs, and drastically enhances provider job satisfaction.”

To engage others effectively, she points out the importance of involving “all clinicians in decision-making, and to appreciate everyone's expertise, regardless of background or education. Create a culture that celebrates diversity, respects all ideas, and discourages arcane notions of patriarchy.”

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