More than half of doctors (56 percent) spend 30 to 45 hours per week seeing patients, according to the 2018 Medscape Physician Compensation Report. On top of that, 70 percent spend at least 10 hours per week on paperwork and administration — with 32 percent dedicating 20 or more hours per week to these duties.
Given these numbers, it’s not surprising that 44 percent of physicians are burned out, according to the 2019 Medscape National Physician Burnout, Depression & Suicide Report. If you’re feeling overworked, it’s time to examine how you’re spending your day and make some changes for the better.
Here’s some advice to help you achieve work-life balance. This will allow you to live your best life while continuing to provide patients with outstanding care.
1. Carve out time for EMR training
Nearly three-quarters of primary care physicians (71 percent) believe EHRs play a huge role in physician burnout, according to a 2018 survey conducted by The Harris Poll on behalf of Stanford Medicine. Despite this, 63 percent of PCPs think EHRs have generally improved their quality of patient care.
An analysis in Applied Clinical Informatics revealed the top predictor of user experience is the quality of training received, regardless of the EHR used. In fact, organizations that require new physicians to complete more than six hours of EHR training typically have higher levels of satisfaction with their software of choice, according to a study conducted by KLAS.
EMRs and EHRs are here to stay, so making time for proper training can boost both your efficiency and confidence levels. Having the tools to correctly use this software will allow it to work for you, instead of slowing you down and stressing you out.
2. Delegate tasks to members of your staff
Of doctors experiencing burnout, 59 percent cite the top cause as too many bureaucratic tasks and 34 percent believe spending too much time at work is the issue, according to Medscape. Thankfully, there’s an easy cure for this problem: allowing your staff to assist.
Patients put their health in your hands, so you need to dedicate as much time as possible to them. Many medical tasks that can be done by a doctor can also be effectively completed by a nurse practitioner or physician’s assistant. Some administrative tasks like data entry can also be performed by your staff.
3. Implement technologies to streamline office efficiency
Requiring patients to call your office to schedule an appointment and your staff to make an appointment reminder call is a lot of time spent on the phone. Make these tasks more convenient for everyone by automating them.
More than two-thirds of people (69.8 percent) prefer to book appointments with service providers — including doctors — online, according to a 2018 survey conducted by the software comparison tool GetApp. This allows them to schedule appointments 24/7 and ensures they won’t have to be put on hold.
Investing in online scheduling and automated appointment reminders allows your staff more free time to focus on other tasks. Therefore, you can delegate responsibilities currently on your plate without feeling like you’re overworking them.
4. Outsource medical practice marketing tasks
Many responsibilities associated with running your practice need to be completed by you or your office staff. However, medical practice marketing can be outsourced to a firm you trust.
Turning your social media management, blog, and paid advertising over to the experts is a double win because you get more time in your day while benefitting from their extensive knowledge. You’ll still get the final say on all content, but you won’t have to create it.
5. Practice pre-appointment prep
Make appointments more efficient by preparing in advance for patients. Have them complete pre-appointment questionnaires, where they can describe their symptoms and main concerns before stepping foot into your office.
Your staff can review this information and coordinate any likely services needed — such as lab tests or X-rays — prior to their appointment, so you have all the necessary information before walking into the exam room. This will reduce the need for timely follow-up calls and assessments.
Running a successful healthcare practice isn’t easy. Avoid burnout by finding a way to complete time-consuming tasks more efficiently. This might involve enrolling in a training program, giving up a bit of control and allowing others to assist you, or investing in innovative software. Every practice is different, so find a solution that meets your unique needs.