You’ve read about burnout, seen the statistics, and maybe even experienced it.
Of more than 15,000 physicians surveyed in the 2019 Medscape National Physician Burnout, Depression & Suicide Report, 44% reported feeling burned out. The study defines burnout as “long-term, unresolvable job stress that leads to exhaustion and feeling overwhelmed, cynical, detached from the job, and lacking a sense of personal accomplishment.”
It’s not just physicians. The same causes of burnout — long hours, heavy workloads, and steep administrative learning curves — affect other members of the practice staff, such as front desk personnel, billing specialists, and office managers.
Demands of a busy practice
If you work at a busy practice, you’re likely to encounter certain challenges.
“All the phones ringing and not enough staff to answer all the lines when they're ringing at once during the busiest times of the day would be one example,” said Joe Carnes, billing owner at Pediatric Pulmonary Specialists in Tampa, Florida. He also cited obtaining the right benefits and sorting out insurance information as examples of shared challenges.
“Those are pretty typical issues that any practice has to deal with from time to time,” he said.
Practice staff must be able to respond to patient questions, manage wait times, and provide efficient yet personalized service. In addition to this pressure, there is a possibility of poor reviews online by unsatisfied patients, as this Greenway blog post describes.
Concerned about burnout?
Do you feel burned out? If so, you may adopt a negative outlook, dread going to work, and suffer from headaches and other physical symptoms. The Mayo Clinic created a set of questions to help you determine if you suffer from job burnout.
Rather than a medical diagnosis, burnout is a “special type of work-related stress,” according to the article. Lack of control is a frequent cause.
Here’s how a Greenway customer explained the cause of burnout.
“You end up spending 10% of your time actually delivering patient care, and the other 90% of your time in all the back-end work, sitting in front of a computer screen, typing, billing, coding, charging, figuring out how to make this template do what I want it to do,” said Dr. Nimisha Aggarwal, a pediatrician at MacArthur Medical Center in Irving, Texas.
“Having a really robust and good [EHR] allows you that time to spend with the patients,” she said. “If you have it set up appropriately and have everyone on the same page, you can spend more time with the patient and hopefully, eventually flip it to 90% with the patient and 10% doing the charting, which is what I think a good [EHR] like Greenway gives you.”
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