How physician burnout is harming your healthcare facility

Posted & filed under Physician Stories.

Physicians across the nation are experiencing burnout. The consequences of this troubling trend can be devastating for healthcare facilities. Fortunately, Locum Tenens can help.

A recent study conducted by the Mayo Clinic and the American Medical Association found that approximately 54% of physicians report experiencing burnout. This represents a 10% increase from a 2011 poll, which showed that 45% of physicians considered themselves to be burned out. This rising level of burnout is a major threat to healthcare facilities and the services they offer to patients.

The Causes of Physician Burnout

According to Medscape, physician burnout is defined as, “loss of enthusiasm for work, feelings of cynicism, and a low sense of personal accomplishment.” While burnout is present in almost every field of work, it is especially troubling when it comes to the healthcare field. Physicians are responsible for the care of patients, and burnout can negatively impact the quality of this care, ultimately harming the facility.

Because of the importance of quality care of patients, it is important to consider the potential causes of this burnout. Some contributing factors include:

  • Influx of patients: With the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, more patients have access to health insurance. This access has lead to an influx of new patients, making doctors busier than ever. This means that they are working longer hours and spending less time with each patient.
  • Administrative tasks: Paperwork can take up a significant portion of a physician’s day. Whether it is inputting electronic health records or dealing with other red tape, these tasks can be time consuming and stressful for physicians.
  • Depersonalization: In the healthcare field, the emphasis on efficiency has been caused by the increasing time crunch that physicians experience. This can lead doctors to feel as though they are simply going through the motions, instead of actually connecting and helping patients.
  • Lack of Opportunities: Many doctors reported that research and keeping up with new advancements was important to their feelings of professional fulfillment. Without time to put towards these important aspects, physicians can feel burnt out and facilities will suffer.
  • Work-Life Imbalance: About 78% of physicians say that their favorite activity is spending time with loved ones. Increased work time will cause an impairment in a physician’s work-life balance.

How Burnout is Negatively Impacting the Healthcare Field

When physicians experience burnout, the impact is widespread. Physicians who are cynical and disinterested in their work are less likely to put in the effort required to obtain positive clinical outcomes. With burnout, physicians are more likely to make mistakes in paperwork, administrative tasks, or electronic reporting. This can cause delays in insurance reimbursement or loss of partnership with certain insurers. Thus, the financial health of a healthcare organization may be damaged.

Additionally, burned-out physicians may rush through appointments, disconnect with patients, or make mistakes in diagnoses or treatment plans. These mistakes are harmful to healthcare facilities because it opens them up to potential litigation. This litigation can quickly ruin the reputation and financial stability of any practice.

Furthermore, physicians who feel burnout are more likely to leave their positions, leaving gaps in coverage. This may cause potential patients to obtain the services of a different facility. This will also cause practices to spend additional time and effort to find and train new employees. This constant fluctuation can put a strain on the entire facility.

How Locum Tenens Can Help Cure Physician Burnout

Locum Tenens physicians are temporary workers who can add enormous value to any healthcare facility. The benefits offered by Locum Tenens physicians include:

  • Filling in for physicians who are on leave;
  • Easing the increasing patient load;
  • Helping with administrative tasks, including electronic reporting requirements;
  • Allowing time for physicians to conduct research or continuing education;
  • Bringing a new perspective in healthcare;
  • Adding a specialty to a practice; and
  • Letting physicians spend more quality time with each patient.

These are just a few of the benefits offered by Locum Tenens physicians. These aspects can help significantly reduce physician burnout, allowing healthcare facilities to avoid the associated negative consequences. If your facility is ready to gain the benefits of Locum Tenens physicians, please contact Medstaff today.