Physician burnout is a topic getting more attention and rightly so. Studies show burnout rates among physicians across all specialties is as high as 51%, a sharp increase from just four years ago.
In today’s #Kareochat, host Jenn Dennard (@jenndennard), founder of HealthITChicks (@HealthITChicks) asked some thought-provoking questions regarding physician burnout and some amazing responses came in!
Topics ranged from ways doctors can get more self care to avoid burnout, to discussion of virtual assistance (scribes) in the patient rooms and mention of programs such as Patients over Paperwork and the hope the program will help the burnout issue among other topics.
Let’s dive into the chat:
2017 saw a great deal of media coverage on physician burnout. Why now? What factors have pushed it into the spotlight?
T1: I’m no expert, but from what I have read in studies, one factor seems to be the erosion of compassion evidenced in the work environment, values around self-care, compassion for self and others, as automation has risen. #kareochat https://t.co/Nmvts6T7BT— Stephanie Crabb (@stephaniecrabb) January 25, 2018
Several interesting tweets came in for this subject. Many ideas were shared about the factors contributing to physician burnout being placed in the spotlight.
How are you seeing physician burnout impact patient care?
This was a popular topic in the chat with discussions from physician self care to talking about burnout witnessed when visiting doctors themselves.
T2: We are also seeing the highest rate of MD vacancies and projected shortages creating supply/demand impacts...longer to get an appt with specialists may lead patients to just give up and not pursue care. #kareochat https://t.co/BwCWwTbEb2— Stephanie Crabb (@stephaniecrabb) January 25, 2018
T2: Recent Medscape study shows 2/3 of docs feel burnt out/depressed, leading them to feel less engaged with patients, more “easily exasperated” and less friendly – yikes! https://t.co/m3Z6NxF4r5 #KareoChat— Jennifer Dennard (@JennDennard) January 25, 2018
It may sound counter-intuitive, but how can health IT help prevent (or at least keep from worsening) physician burnout?
Some interesting conversations took place about making sure electronic records are easy to use as well as the use of virtual assistance (mainly scribes in the patient room) and others.
T3: By making the electronic medical record user-friendly!! This is a hot topic for docs. They are designed to optimize billing, are not consistent with workflow, are incredibly tedious...I could go on. #kareochat https://t.co/jd5Ah9Kcud— Your GPS Doc, LLC (@yourgpsdoc) January 25, 2018
The conversation about Scribes in the patient rooms was pretty popular, and most were not sure how they felt about their presence.
What role do vendors have to play in helping their end users avoid burnout?
This question sparked some great response. From involving more people in the development phase to building better products.
T4 Build better products. It's often whispered but rarely shouted, the top vendors have bottom shelf products that do nothing to lessen burnout. "Yeah, I said it" #Kareochat pic.twitter.com/xx1FVmh0qJ— ShereeseM, MS/MBA (@ShereesePubHlth) January 25, 2018
This conversation about building better products together took off.
How do you foresee regulatory efforts/programs in 2018 focusing on burnout? Will they help or hinder?
Regulations were mentioned, as well as programs that are working toward reducing the direct stress physicians feel.
T5: Regulations are important but are increasingly a large contributor to #physicianburnout. Checking boxes instead of caring for patients erodes empathy and connection. #kareochat https://t.co/hpJI3Eu8LX— Your GPS Doc, LLC (@yourgpsdoc) January 25, 2018
What resources would you recommend to physicians struggling with burnout?
Some great recommendations came in from delegating, to practicing self care to encouraging med schools to help in the effort.
Bonus: Physician need to find better coping mechanisms and Med schools need to focus on coping tools as a part of practicing. #KareoChat— ShereeseM, MS/MBA (@ShereesePubHlth) January 25, 2018
This was a great chat about physician burnout. Many great people had a lot to say and offered thoughtful discussion on today’s #KareoChat.
Our host this week, Jenn Dennard did a splendid job of creating a thought provoking hour to discuss a subject that is of concern to us all, whether practicing physicians, healthcare workers or patients.