A confident female neurologist discusses a patient's brain scan with a group of colleagues.

Burnout has long been an issue that has plagued frontline healthcare workers. It’s a particular problem in neurology, where clinicians report the highest rates of burnout and the lowest rates of job satisfaction in the healthcare industry. With a growing physician shortage and an aging population, the burnout problem is likely to continue. But AI-powered ambient clinical intelligence solutions can dramatically reduce the administrative burdens that lead to burnout, helping neurologists restore their quality of life—and rediscover the joy of practicing medicine.

Decreasing clinician satisfaction and increasing burnout are pressing challenges throughout healthcare, but they affect some specialties more than others. In fact, the Medscape Neurologist Lifestyle, Happiness & Burnout Report 2022 found that neurologists have the highest rates of burnout and the lowest rates of satisfaction of all medical specialties.

In Medscape’s survey, 47% of neurologists reported being burned out (up from 42% in 2021), and 77% said documentation tasks are the main contributor. With growing clinician shortages and an aging population, demand for neurological care is outstripping demand, putting more pressure on already overstretched neurologists. So unless healthcare organizations take action, burnout will only become more common in this vital specialty—with a major impact on neurology availability, quality, and outcomes.

The impact of neurologist burnout

When chronic workplace stress isn’t managed effectively it can lead to burnout, a condition that saps clinicians’ energy and enthusiasm. Burnout leaves clinicians feeling exhausted, hindering their ability to do their job, and in many cases forcing them to leave the profession entirely.

Tired, stressed neurologists can’t provide great patient experiences or high-quality care. There’s also a heightened risk that things will be missed, with an adverse impact on patient safety and care outcomes. And when clinician and patient satisfaction both start to decrease, it doesn’t take long for healthcare organizations to feel the impact on their ability to generate revenue.

But organizations that find effective ways to reduce burnout can reverse these impacts, improving clinician satisfaction, patient experiences, and financial performance.

Reducing burnout with ambient clinical intelligence

One of the top strategies neurologists use to combat burnout is attempting to reduce their working hours. That’s no surprise when you consider that for every hour of patient care, clinicians spend two hours on documentation. But by using AI-powered tools to automatically document care, neurologists can minimize their administrative burden and reduce the risk of burnout.

One of the most powerful ways to reduce the documentation burden is by using an ambient clinical intelligence solution to automatically document patient encounters at the point of care. Nuance’s ambient clinical intelligence solution, the Dragon Ambient eXperience (DAX), listens securely to clinician-patient conversations and converts them into complete, accurate clinical notes tailored to each specialty.

DAX helps clinicians work more efficiently, so they can see more patients without feeling burned out. And importantly, DAX increases the quality of patient encounters by freeing neurologists from their computer screens and letting them fully engage with the patient in front of them, knowing the complete patient story being captured and documented.

Clinical documentation that writes itself

In the organizations we work with we’ve seen DAX reduce documentation time by 50% and have a major impact on clinician satisfaction. In our survey, 100% of DAX users in neurology reported a better work-life balance, and 9 out of 10 neurologists said they’d recommend DAX.

By using DAX to eliminate the excessive documentation burdens that are the biggest cause of neurologist burnout, healthcare organizations can set themselves up to overcome the challenges of staff shortages and increased demand.

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Kenneth Harper

About Kenneth Harper

Kenneth Harper is the Vice President and General Manager of Nuance's Healthcare Virtual Assistants and Ambient Clinical Intelligence business. Kenn has been working in the conversational AI industry for 15+ years, helping to shape virtual assistant solutions across mobile phones, TV’s, cars, wearables, robotics, and most recently healthcare systems. Kenneth leads Nuance's Healthcare Virtual Assistant business, which leverages an advanced suite of technologies combined with purpose-built hardware to streamline interactions with the EHR and creation of clinical documentation, allowing physicians to remain 100% focused on the patient without technology getting in the way. Kenn holds a B.S. in human factors engineering from Cornell University and a M.S. in human factors from Bentley University.