How to alleviate physician burnout: 5 tips that can help

The odds of physicians leaving an organization due to burnout is 2 to 1, which has only been made worse by the coronavirus epidemic. Even before COVID, the World Health Organization (WHO) predicted a shortage of 18 million caregivers over the next ten years. Now is the time to attract top talent and retain providers and patients with solutions that alleviate burnout and deliver optimal experiences.

To achieve quality and financial objectives as well as comply with increasing regulations, physicians often spend more time documenting care than actually delivering it, leading to physician burnout and less than ideal patient-provider relationships. Here are some resources to help you learn how you can combat the issue along with these five tips:

  1. Use voice-enabled solutions to reduce time spent documenting care
    For every hour of care, doctors spend 2 hours on clinical documentation. With recent advancements in voice-enabled, ambient intelligence solutions, physicians can reduce documentation time by over 50% by capturing the patient story at the point of care and put documenting “afterward” in the past. During an encounter, conversations between clinicians and patients are securely recorded and automatically converted into clinical notes using discrete data to populate clinical documentation directly in the EHR.   
  2. Bring back the human element of patient care to improve the patient-provider relationship
    One of the best ways to improve outcomes for both providers and patients is by empowering physicians to focus their attention on the patient fully. AI-based solutions help alleviate administrative burdens from clinicians, as well as engage their patients. With “ambient intelligence helpers,” doctors can spend more time with patients listening to their concerns and answering their questions with more eye-to-eye contact instead of looking at a computer screen.
  3. Produce accurate, standardized documentation efficiently to alleviate burden
    Deep-learning-based AI accurately converts encounter conversations into standardized, structured notes tailored for each specialty that adhere to established documentation standards reducing the burden of compliance expertise and enabling accurate coding. Because the documentation is being captured automatically during the encounter, there is no loss of data from the cognitive load. As a result, patient safety, outcomes, and continuity of care are improved.
  4. Enable providers to practice at the top of their license to increase retention
    Alleviate administrative burdens and allow providers to spend much of their time caring for patients and put the joy back into practicing medicine. With automated documentation that is securely captured efficiently, accurately, and consistently, physicians can do what they trained for – take care of their patients – and patients can really feel that they have been heard. With satisfied providers who are not burned out and patients who had a good experience, you will retain both.
  5. The influx of telehealth is here and here to stay, so do all of the above for telehealth too  
    Providers are reporting 50x to 175x the number of telehealth visits compared with pre-COVID levels, and 57% of providers view telehealth more favorably now than they did before COVID. As patients increasingly turn to telehealth for routine and non-urgent care, it’s important to include physician burnout reduction tactics, such as ambient clinical intelligence that can be used to automatically document telehealth encounters in your telehealth strategy to deliver quality care.

Healthcare technology has advanced and continues to advance rapidly. Automated, voice-enabled, hands-free documentation, virtual assistants and proactive intelligence all integrated within the EHR is here to transform the healthcare industry and relieve those who work in it of the administrative burdens that cause burnout. As a result, patient-provider-relationships, patient safety, and medical outcomes will be improved because of it.

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Jared Pelo

About Jared Pelo

Jared Pelo, MD, is an Emergency Medicine physician and innovator. Dr. Pelo helps lead the ambient clinical intelligence team at Nuance where he is a Chief Medical Information Officer. Dr. Pelo’s passion is the intersection of technology and healthcare. With a deep understanding of complex systems and artificial intelligence, he creates solutions that make healthcare more functional and efficient.