Burnout in healthcare professionals is nothing new and, unfortunately, quite common, especially in the U.S.
Even before the pandemic hit, healthcare professionals experienced challenging environments, longer hours, time pressure, and immense workloads.
All of these factors can drain even the most competent healthcare professionals, most of who suffer from burnout.
Affected healthcare employees are drained emotionally, physically, and might even develop negative attitudes towards both patients and their work.
That being said, let’s take a look at what it is and some of the main causes of burnout in healthcare professionals, along with strategies to mitigate it.
To put it quite simply, burnout is the feeling of exhaustion workers feel. It is a result of chronic workplace stress, one which isn’t being mitigated properly. Unfortunately, burnout is quite commonly seen in the healthcare industry. The work hours are long, the workload is immense, and everything in between is quite chaotic. Just imagine the scenario within emergency rooms in busy hospitals – you’ll get what we mean. But not only do physicians, nurses, and clinicians face burnout – every employee within a healthcare facility can experience burnout.
With that out of the way, let’s focus on the causes of burnout in healthcare professionals.
One of the most common causes of burnout in healthcare professionals is how ineffective their existing workflow is. Even now, due to various reasons, most hospitals and health systems are utilizing ancient and obsolete software solutions that are decades old. Some of them even look like they were made in the 2000s!
Healthcare workers have to make do with these solutions that ultimately hamper their workflow and restrict their performance – take up a lot of time in the process.
Take the case of patient identification, for instance. A patient will come in, the registrar will ask for identification, and then come up with the appropriate medical record from the EHR system – sounds so simple, right?
Well, the problem is that there’s no efficient way to identify medical records accurately.
You see, there’s no standardized and effective patient identifier present in the U.S. healthcare system. Additionally, common names and characteristics of patients, as well as thousands of medical records, make accurate patient identification an extremely time-consuming process.
Healthcare workers typically work in a high-pressure and time-sensitive environment, and when they have to take a lot of time to do tasks such as identifying medical records, it adds to their burnout.
Fortunately, solutions like touchless biometric patient identification can help out in this case. By identifying medical records quickly and effectively, it can help healthcare workers spend lesser time searching for medical records and more time on other tasks. But that’s not all – such a solution can help other departments in hospitals and health systems.
Accurate patient identification means lesser duplicate medical records and overlays, lesser patient data integrity issues, and fewer denied claims in the process. This means that the backend revenue cycle team needs to work on fewer billing and coding issues – helping them work more efficiently on other tasks and reducing burnout n the process.
Healthcare employees don’t seem to catch a breather – they always have a lot on their plate, including administrative tasks. Many have to work longer hours without breaks to keep up with the high-pressure environment.
As a result, they ultimately have to sacrifice one thing or the other – spending time with their families, sleep, or career advancement. Most usually choose to sacrifice their sleep – they ultimately suffer from burnout down the line.
Hospitals and health systems need to ensure that all of their employees are getting ample rest. Ensure that the employees are not working around the clock. Implement strategies that can help them relax both at work and outside of it.
Introduce a break room, encourage them to meditate or do relaxation exercises, and if the work pressure is too high, encourage physicians, nurses, and everyone involved to take breaks. Caring for the employees not only helps you see their issues and address them but also keeps them satisfied and loyal for a long time.
As previously mentioned, many hospitals and health systems are still using ancient ways to carry out their operations. While that part covered healthcare personnel, this one is about ALL employees in all the departments.
For instance, take the case of maintenance management teams.
They need to ensure that all the equipment is working properly at all times and that unplanned downtime is reduced significantly. While most hospitals upgrade “crucial” systems such as EHRs, telehealth platforms, and revenue cycle automation tools, they often leave maintenance management with spreadsheets or a barebones solution. As a result, using such outdated systems creates burnout among the maintenance team as they need to update information manually, take a long time to retrieve work history, suffer from poor collaboration, and provide poor performance as proper monitoring can’t be ensured.
Hospitals and health systems can prevent this by using modern and robust solutions, in this case, a CMMS for healthcare facilities will be very beneficial. Such a solution streamlines maintenance tasks, boosts collaboration, ensures better monitoring, digitizes, and keeps all the information in a centralized location – helping reduce employee stress.
Another common cause of healthcare employee burnout is because hospitals often fail to work on improving their employees’ wellbeing. It’s quite simple – if employees feel that their organization isn’t valuing their wellbeing, they will most definitely feel burned out and it impacts their performance. Employees simply won’t be putting in extra effort if they feel that their employer doesn’t value them.
Healthcare organizations need to work on improving their employees’ wellbeing, and one of the best ways to do so is by using a corporate wellness app. It can improve employee engagement, ensure employee recognition, help celebrate birthdays and work anniversaries via posts, and also help them be a part of custom challenges.
Moreover, employees can take charge of their wellbeing as the app monitors their steps, helps them take medicine on time, and stay knowledgeable about diet, nutrition, etc. All of this helps create a healthy and collaborative workplace culture – reducing employee burnout in the process.