There are several tasks that physicians perform during a typical workday and this increased workload is zapping their energies and they are complaining of burnout. Along with providing care services to patients, physicians also manage administrative tasks as well. A physician’s time is used in doing tasks like managing EHR, billing, authorization of medical processes and looking after the daily operations of a practice. Sometimes, these tasks can pinch substantial time and leave less to take care of their primary job.
Below is the list of tasks that consumes a physician’s time and what are the ways to get relief.
Excessive bureaucratic tasks
Although all the processes that have been devised to facilitate physicians and the reforms are meant to improve the overall system, however, all these measures are adding bureaucratic tasks in physicians’ job. The primary job of a physician is to provide quality care services to patients but they are excessively indulged in managing patient charts, logs, information sheets, and paperwork.
Increased work hours
According to a survey of 15000 physicians and 29 specialties, physicians are spending more hours at work and have become a major cause of draining physicians’ energy. Almost 57 percent of physicians are working more than 71 hours a week and when most of them spend 61 to 70 hours a week at work. At the same time physicians, especially those who work in emergencies are also providing out-of-network services to earn more. Usually, to work as consulting physicians they have to move from one specialty to another and which is making their routine tougher.
Increased use of health technologies
The last decade has seen a switch to a computer-based healthcare system from paper-based clinics. This switch has changed the way Medical Transcription Services were used to coordinate and physicians are spending more time with software tools, such as electronic health records (EHR) systems. This increased use of healthcare technologies is also draining the energies of the physicians.
Challenging revenue targets
Increased quality measures have pushed physicians to upgrade their in-house systems which are increasing their expenses that they are spending on hardware, software technologies and managing the administrative tasks. At the same time, the new measures have reduced the collections. Although, in the past few years, the government has incentivized the technology adoption and use of EHR but the maintenance of the new system is cutting down the revenue of physicians. To keep the operations smooth, physicians are struggling to meet the revenue targets which are causing stress and require longer work hours.
Handling patients’ records
Management of patient health records used to be a job of other in-house resources or medical transcription services provider. The administrative staff was responsible for archiving patient health records in files and designated office space. However, the management of patient health records after digitization has come under the domain of physicians. Handling patient health records is an additional job that is also negatively affecting the work performance of the patients. It is becoming tiresome for physicians to treat patients and handle records at the same time.
Increase government regulations and new requirements in the name of reforms are also causing trouble for physicians. To meet these regulations, physicians are required to spend more time in office and which is exhausting their energies.
Although there is no clear solution right now to fix the causes because the healthcare system is now in the transitional phase and more is required to be done on every aspect. However, many groups in the healthcare industry are openly discussing it and have put forward some suggestions, let’s have a look at it.
- The government should ease up the burden by reducing the regulatory requirements and quality measures. A relief from regulatory requirements would help physicians to spare time for their personal life.
- Physicians should delegate administrative tasks to staff that can handle it. Holding all the tasks and keeping track of everything in practice just increases the workload and drain energies.
- Automation is the key to process optimization. From attendance management to scheduling and follow-ups, automate all those tasks which are performed manually.
- Outsource processes and tasks which are consuming major time. For instance, physicians must outsource billing as there are plenty of professional billing companies that can manage to bill better than in-house staff and at a reduced cost.
- Add more support staff to share the workload. Although more staff would mean more expense and also reduced profits this should be encouraged to maintain the balance.
- The government should also offer multiple incentives to help physicians meet their revenue goals that would be the relief and ease down the financial burden.
After all, it’s the home and the support of your family that restores work energies every day. Physicians should spend ample time with friends and family to help them restore their energies.