HealthWare Systems Blog

Reducing Physician Burnout to Improve Physician Retention

Posted on Tuesday, March 7, 2017

According to a study published by the Mayo Clinic, 54.4% of physicians in the U.S. report experiencing at least one symptom of professional burnout, a growing problem in healthcare.

The Maslach Burnout Inventory, an instrument used to measure burnout, defines it as “a psychological syndrome of emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and reduced personal accomplishment.”  Doctors suffering from physician burnout feel drained emotionally, grow cynical toward their patients, and view their work as meaningless.  These physicians may provide a lower quality of care, commit more medical errors, and develop an increased desire to leave a practice.

Not only does physician burnout and its ensuing turnover create significant consequences for doctors and patients, but also for healthcare facilities.  A study featured in the American Journal of Medical Quality found that physician turnover can affect an organization’s finances, patient satisfaction, other healthcare providers, and institutional public relations.

 

How Can You Help?

It’s in the best interests of everyone (doctors, patients, and the entire organization) when hospitals take steps toward preventing and/or reducing physician burnout:

 

Show Them You Care

The fact that you are searching for information on reducing physician burnout already shows you care about your physicians.  It’s important to make sure they are aware of your efforts so that they feel their work is valued and appreciated.

Investing in the well being of your doctors can pay huge dividends for your facility.  Many facilities are seeing substantial improvements in their attempts to increase physician satisfaction after introducing mindfulness training and on-the-job emotional support programs.  An added benefit of these is that they increase patient satisfaction with doctors as well.

 

Reducing physician burnout will help you increase physician satisfaction.

Reducing physician burnout will help you increase physician satisfaction.

 

Help Them Rediscover Their Passion

Your physicians probably pursued a career in medicine because they wanted to make a difference in people’s lives; they didn’t become doctors for the administrative duties.  Yet, research highlighted in the Canadian Family Physician journal found that two contributing factors to physician burnout and stress are too much paperwork and long waits for specialists and tests.

You can make it easier for your doctors to focus on the aspects of their job that bring them the most meaning by implementing solutions that simplify administrative tasks.  A solution like ActiveXCHANGE, for example, can help you manage incoming physician orders and third party documentation and greatly reduces physician complaints related to lost or incomplete orders.  In fact, this system is known to increase physician satisfaction.

 

Eliminate Financial Stressors

In a Mayo Clinic Proceedings study, frustration with reimbursement issues was among the reasons physicians surveyed planned to reduce their working hours or leave medicine altogether.

You can limit payment glitches, and improve physician retention, by ensuring patients are financially cleared before they even present.  Read here about solutions that can verify treatment is authorized by payers before it is administered, how to prevent errors that result in payment delays and denials, and financial assistance screening tools that can help your self-pay patients.

 

Reducing physician burnout is crucial for both your organization and the health of the people who serve your patients.  If you can help your physicians find joy in their work, you will increase physician satisfaction and physician retention; this in turn will lead you to increase patient satisfaction with their happier, more emotionally-present physicians.


By Stephanie Salmich