Physicians are called to the industry because they want to help those who are in need of care. With healthcare being an evolving industry, especially when it comes to technology and compliance regulations, physicians can quickly begin to experience burnout symptoms due to the ever-changing and increasing burden of healthcare administrative demands. The reasons and symptoms of physician burnout are complex, but need to be addressed and given a route to relief so more physicians do not leave the profession mid-career. The physical and emotional toll that burnout causes leaves physicians unable to stay connected to the initial reason they got into healthcare in the first place. This increasing disconnect is causing more and more physicians to leave the industry entirely.
Physician Burnout Affects Patient Experience and Care
According to a Mayo Clinic study that evaluated the prevalence of burnout and work-life balance between 2011-2014, it was discovered that physician burnout is increasing. Of the 6,880 physicians who completed the survey, 54 percent of physicians in 2014 reported at least one of the three symptoms of burnout as compared to 46 percent in 2011. Physician burnout symptoms were defined during the study by Maslach Burnout Inventory as emotional exhaustion, a feeling of depersonalization or cynicism, and a low sense of personal accomplishment in one’s work. These types of symptoms affect even medical students.
“Satisfaction with work-life balance also declined in physicians between 2011 and 2014. Substantial differences in rates of burnout and satisfaction with work-life balance were observed by specialty. In contrast to the trends in physicians, minimal changes in burnout or satisfaction with work-life balance were observed between 2011 and 2014 in probability-based samples of working U.S. adults, resulting in an increasing disparity in burnout and satisfaction with work-life balance in physicians relative to the general US working population. After pooled multivariate analysis adjusting for age, sex, relationship status, and hours worked per week, physicians remained at an increased risk of burnout.”
When physicians experience burnout, the safety of the patient and the mental well-being of the physician is ultimately at risk. With an increasing backlog of paperwork from administrative demands and new documentation technology creating communication barriers, more room for errors are created and patients receive sub par care from unintentionally, distracted physicians. All of these components lead to a stressed healthcare experience.
In 2015, Pub Med conducted a study to see if patient safety was affected by symptoms of burnout. More than 1,400 physicians and nurses who worked in intensive care participated in the study. Regression analysis was used to investigate the overall effect of burnout as an indicator of psychological health, demographic and organizational characteristics on standardized mortality ratios, length of stay and clinician-rated patient safety.
“At least in the short-term, clinicians seem to be able to maintain safety despite high workload and low predictability. Nevertheless, burnout poses a safety risk. Subjectively, burnt-out clinicians rated safety lower, and objectively, units with high emotional exhaustion had higher standardized mortality ratios.”
Signature Performance Alleviates Administrative Burden for Providers
Signature Performance is improving not only our clients’ business but the entire healthcare industry by finding better ways to leverage technology, talented people, and industry-leading processes to identify ways to streamline claims processing, and at the end of the day, lowering the cost of healthcare administration. Our extensive track record over the last 15 years proves we can tackle any administrative burden with a thoughtful approach, while improving the overall workflow with a customized design. Our unmatched experience in serving both the payer and provider side of healthcare financial management allows us to implement innovative solutions for every administrative demand. By doing so, we are doing what we can do to alleviate the causes of physician burnout.
We are dedicated to making a lasting impact in the nexus of healthcare by inhabiting the payer, provider, federal and community sectors. Our team has the financial expertise combined with EHR optimization experience to access a healthcare systems readiness for the paradigm shift to value-driven care. With the proper planning, guidance, payer contract design and tools your healthcare system can thrive in this ever-changing landscape. Our unmatched experience on both the payer and provider side of the business allows our team the opportunity to evaluate some of healthcare’s largest challenges from a variety of perspectives and create custom solutions that get to the core of the problem.
We believe the healthcare industry in the United States deserves only the best, and that sentiment is what motivates our dedicated team to do our very best each and every day. It’s our calling to bend the cost of healthcare administration by improving the overall quality and experience while minimizing resources and cost.
Chris Vairo is the Chief Revenue Officer at Signature Performance Inc., in Omaha, NE. Signature Performance is an industry leader in reducing healthcare administration costs for private and public healthcare sectors. Our unmatched experience in serving both the payer and provider side of healthcare financial management allows us to implement innovative solutions for every administrative demand.