Reducing Staff Burnout Using Reliable, Efficient, and Low-Cost Technology

Posted on behalf of Christine Duval, Marketing Manager

Burnout is a growing concern among hospitals and healthcare organizations. Doctors and nurses work long hours, overnights, overtime, and with little to no breaks depending on the number of patients and seriousness of ailments or injuries that present throughout their shift. On any given day, it is typically impossible to predict the staffing needs or stress levels of a department, especially in the ER.

Some of this is beyond anyone’s control, for example lack of insight into staffing needs…Did multiple employees call out sick? Was there a major accident in the area? A hurricane or major snowstorm? But what about the bigger picture – are there ways to work proactively to help reduce serious medical emergencies and hospital admissions before they happen?

With technology today, the answer is yes. With improved communication between healthcare providers, hospitals, physicians’ offices, and clinics, patient safety and care coordination across the continuum will improve as well – leading to increased patient safety, higher quality care, and fewer preventable readmissions.

  • 80% of all serious medical errors involve miscommunication between care transitions*

Being able to share, view, and access patient data instantly not only allows for faster and more effective care, but lessens the burden on administrative staff to locate this patient data and share it through the proper channels. If a patient is unconscious when they present at the ER, or needs emergency surgery, there’s no time for medical staff to play phone tag or wait for a fax from a physician office or another hospital to gather patient history/allergies/medications, etc. The right software can provide real-time, audited access to comprehensive patient data, and the ability to view that data on any device (laptop, tablet, desktop). Sometimes figuring out who a patient is in the first place creates a whole other challenge, so having an accurate patient matching solution in place is crucial.

  • Without a reliable business continuity solution, unexpected network or EHR downtime can be detrimental to patient safety, and a hospital’s reputation

Having 24×7 access to up-to-date patient data is integral to being able to provide quality patient care. If the network or EHR goes down, patient safety is seriously jeopardized. Medication doses could be missed, there could be a delay in care or test results, cancellations of appointments or surgeries, and many other associated risks. Hospitals need to have a reliable back-up system in place, which is why having designated downtime machines routinely receiving real-time patient data is essential. Alternatively, if the EHR goes down unexpectedly, or even during a planned downtime, having access to that same patient data through a web portal is equally as important.

  • It is 10x more likely that a patient will be readmitted to the hospital due to lack of follow up*

Physicians are becoming more proactive when it comes to providing follow-up care for their patients to ensure they are receiving the proper treatment after a medical event. But in order to ensure a successful care transition, they need to know what’s going on. Hospitals don’t always have the time or resources to manually notify PCPs when their patients present at the hospital for a medical emergency. There are different tools built into many software platforms that provide automatic alerting and physician notifications which can be set up via secure text or secure email, eliminating the need for faxing, phone calls, or other manual and time-consuming tasks.

  • Burnout doesn’t just effect doctors and nurses, it can be an all-encompassing issue throughout an entire healthcare organization effecting the administrative staff as well

A study from the Journal of General Internal Medicine reports that nearly 50% of nurse care managers and 36% of front office staff feel burned out**. With all the technology meant to make doctors and nurses’ lives easier, there are tools for administrative tasks as well. Robotic Process Automation (RPA) technology such as scripting or other workflow automation tools not only improve business processes, operational efficiencies, expenses, and productivity, but do it in a fraction of the time it would take staff while also mitigating human error.

Of all the ways technology has improved our lives over time, helping to improve the lives of those working to save them is something that should be expected.

To learn more about different solutions and services to help your organization provide better patient care, visit www.summit-healthcare.com.

*Joint Commission Center for Transforming Healthcare. Handoffs communication.http://www.centerfortransforminghealthcare.org/projects/detail.aspx?Project=1.

 **The Association of Team-Specific Workload and Staffing with Odds of Burnout Among VA Primary Care Team Members https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs11606-017-4011-4