July 6, 2018

How to Prevent Physician Burnout by Automating Workflows

The healthcare industry has become preoccupied with the ‘Triple-Aim’ of cost, quality of care and population health management causing widespread…

The healthcare industry has become preoccupied with the ‘Triple-Aim’ of cost, quality of care and population health management causing widespread Physician Burnout.

Unfortunately, the strain and pressure that this triple-fixation is putting on physicians has become sorely neglected. In example, it has been reported that family doctors are suffering from burnout at a rate of 47% — an eye-watering figure that cannot and should not be ignored.

If we can’t keep physicians healthy then we aren’t doing our job as healthcare professionals.

While the dangers of Physician Burnout are of paramount importance, the knock-on effect that it can have on healthcare businesses is also worth noting. Afterall, a healthy practice needs healthy physicians.

Physician Burnout can be detrimental to patient satisfaction scores, which has a knock-on effect to business; however, when it begins to interfere with safe diagnosis and care, the only option is to look for solutions to the problem.

Relaymed provides point-of-care (POC) device to EHR connectivity and, while it can’t solve the issue of Physician Burnout alone, it can go a long way to removing some of the more burdensome administrative tasks from your daily workflow.

Lack of Patient Time

Are you finding that you’re expected to room more patients, in less time, while providing the highest quality of care? In many cases, this is an unfeasible expectation that is continually exacerbated by menial and unproductive administrative and bureaucratic tasks.

Being continually exposed to this level of pressure is having a detrimental effect on the mental well-being of physicians. One study reported a 15% rate of depression amongst respondents (Medscape National Physician Burnout & Depression Report 2018). While this is highly alarming in itself, the knock-on effect it’s believed to have on patient care creates further cause for concern.

A contributing factor to these statistics is the lack of patient time. Physicians are good with people and like to have face time with their patients, in order to maintain positive relationships and provide the best possible care. However, with the increasing strain of administrative and bureaucratic tasks interrupting the caregiving workflow, this time is become shorter and shorter, resulting in physicians who don’t feel that they’re doing their job properly.

Nearly a quarter of this administration is spent after hours, in what’s otherwise known as “pajama time”.  An AMA study found family doctors spend 86 minutes of pajama time with EHRs nightly. Having worked alongside our client, Phillip F. Bressoud, MD of the University of Louisville Physicians, Kentucky, we have come to fully appreciate just how much of a burden managing POC can be in this sense. Aside from the difficulty of effectively and accurately documenting stacks of paper printouts, there was an additional and unnecessary step created in order to sign-off on each test. This led to many additional hours spent on unproductive, administrative tasks that would eat into this pajama time.

“We’d receive a urine sample from the nurse on a paper print-out. We would make our decision then they would scan it in afterward. And then I would have to sign-off on it again, even though I’d already seen it. It created a lot of steps for the providers as well as the opportunity to mismatch the results with the patients or enter the wrong results.”

When the stresses of each working day are already affecting physician health, this pajama time is vital in improving matters. They need time to relax in order to achieve balance in lifestyle and work. Without this respite, patient satisfaction scores and, correspondingly, business revenue will begin to suffer. Practices need to have burnout prevention programs in place in order to avoid these consequences

Physician Burnout Programs

Clearly, it’s time for action. But only 31% of office-based multispeciality practices currently have an action plan to deal with Physician Burnout — generally referred to as Burnout Programs. For such a widespread problem, this isn’t high enough and we want to be part of the solution. We aren’t going tell you that Relaymed can solve physician burnout single-handedly. But the various benefits will make your life a whole lot easier and improve patient experience. This revolves around improving POC workflows immeasurably.

By cutting out the administrative burden of running POC testing, your entire workflow benefits from improved efficiency and accuracy. Physicians no longer have to wait for lab or practice staff to input results into the EHR before continuing their consultation, results appear on the EHR immediately after the test is run. This also avoids the common problem of leaving the room to chase results before circling back to complete the diagnosis. This only serves to waste time and frustrate both physicians and patients.

This saves a great deal of time in the POC process. For instance, urinalysis tests involved 10-12 analytes and can take an average of 2-minutes, per test, to input. Given the volume of these tests that are conducted each day, avoiding manual entry can provide a significant time-saving. Furthermore, by eradicating the human error involved with manual data entry, results are guaranteed to be accurate when they appear immediately in the EHR.

This allows you to spend more time with patients and less time preoccupied with waiting on or chasing up results — they are available immediately. This reduces waiting times and, with 100% accuracy, improves the accuracy of diagnoses. Together, these benefits reduce the administrative burden on physicians and markedly improve patient satisfaction scores.

There are several other benefits Relaymed can bring to your practice. Discover them for yourself.

Using Relaymed in conjunction with your EHR

EHRs can now be found in almost every practice throughout the country, due to the way that they considerably improve the ease with which physicians can document and view a patient’s medical record. However, a new study finds that primary care physicians are spending more than half of their working day interacting with the EHR. With this in mind, we aim to maximize the EHR benefits that EHRs bring to healthcare workflows.

In the case of Dr. Bressoud: he was a satisfied Allscripts client, simply looking for ways to garner even more value from his EHR, having had first-hand experience with POC administration creating afterhours pajama time for himself and staff.

Since onboarding Relaymed, he has witnessed first-hand how it can optimize efficiency, reduce administrative burden, and unlock an improved workflow. Having initially opted to search for a laboratory information system (LIS) to aid his own POC workflow, he has gladly found Relaymed to be the LIS alternative for primary care.

“We actually started looking for LIS options but since we’re an outpatient multi-specialty group we don’t actually have our own lab. It’d be a whole other computer system to manage and our IT staff are already overwhelmed. It’s overkill for what we needed.”

By automating your EHR workflow, you unlock the full value that they can bring. And it doesn’t require an addition to your existing lab interface. We know how much time is spent using your EHR and how this eats into workflows and leads to burnout. We aim to make the process seamless and straightforward.

Discover more

Ready to find out more about how Relaymed can be implemented into your Burnout Prevention Program? We want to help and believe that you will find or POC connectivity solution to be affordable, seamless and scalable while providing an immediate return on investment.

Schedule a 1:1 demo today to see how.

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Further Reading

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