Energy depletion or exhaustion; increased feelings of negativity and cynicism; and a reduced ability to produce a desired or intended result are all signs of burnout—a serious issue that impacts nearly half of physicians and costs the U.S. health care system about $4.6 billion a year.
On May 28, 2019, the World Health Organization made a significant step in legitimizing the problem by adding burnout to the latest edition of its International Classification of Diseases. The agency now describes burnout as an “occupational phenomenon” and “a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.”
As we strive to transform the future of health care, the well-being of providers must be a top priority. In the following blogs and podcasts, five experts in health care and technology offer their perspectives on preventing physician burnout.
1. David Cohen, vice president of intellectual property development, Cerner
Artificial intelligence (AI) can be used to improve physicians’ workflows while simultaneously contributing to burnout relief and prevention.
Cohen pens this blog to provide his take on the role of AI in enhancing clinical workflows and reducing physician burnout:
“It’s clear that health IT companies must develop tools that can assist physicians in improving patient outcomes, while also reducing the burden of care delivery…AI has potential to take over the time-consuming task of data input so that clinicians can focus on providing the highest quality of care to patients.”
2. Dr. Lu de Souza, senior director & chief medical officer-West, Cerner
Health care organizations can do a lot to prevent and eliminate the problem of physician burnout.
In this informative Q&A, Dr. de Souza discusses physician burnout, impacts it has on health care and solutions to the problem:
“It starts with strong, caring leadership and organizational culture shifts away from quantity and toward quality. It is important to focus on redesigning workflows to improve practice efficiency, including leveraging the entire care team and prepping today for tomorrow’s schedule. We see tasks being constantly added to a provider’s bucket of things to do without practice redesign to redistribute the workload. Doctors don’t have time to have lunch or make grand rounds anymore. These are things that allow them to grow professionally, connect with each other and relax a little bit. The sense of community is taken away when your schedule is so overloaded. Providers need to be given back a sense of control and meaning in what they do.”
3. Dr. William Holland, CMIO and vice president of care management, Banner Health
Understand the work that physicians and nurses have historically done and determine if that is the work they need to be doing now.
Dr. Holland joins this episode of the Perspectives on Health and Tech podcast for an engaging conversation with Dr. de Souza on how health care organizations and the health care IT industry can respond to physician burnout:
“If you look at the information we ask physicians and nurses to digest every time they go through a chart or go in to see a patient, it is enormous and complex. AI and other tools will help bring the most important information forth, make sense of it and summarize it so that physicians and nurses don’t have to spend valuable time digging through notes to understand what is happening with the patient.”
4. Dr. Chris Lewis, senior director & chief medical officer, Cerner
Technology is meant to be an answer for stressors contributing to physician burnout.
In this blog, Dr. Lewis shares his thoughts on how health care IT can help physicians avoid burnout:
“Health IT tools ultimately provide an outlet to higher satisfaction among members of our profession. Through a healthy mix of on-site resources and improved IT infrastructure, we can effectively decrease burnout by managing expectations, increasing engagement and improving communication for our physicians.”
5. Janae Sharp, health care editor, Sharp Index
What we can measure matters.
On this episode of the Perspectives on Health & Tech podcast, Sharp explores the devastation of physician suicide and outlines how data science and analytics can help tackle burnout:
“Health IT companies have a unique opportunity to look at physician behavior while they are in their electronic health record and give reporting to health care systems that quantifies that behavior. Health IT can show us through data how we can create a healthy workforce.”
The first step in reducing physician burnout is acknowledging it exists. Learn more here.