Physicians are frustrated and burned out, more so every year.
Numerous surveys, including Geneia’s Physician Misery Index, which was published nearly two years ago, have quantified escalating levels of physician dissatisfaction. Just this month, the annual Medscape Lifestyle Report 2017: Race and Ethnicity, Bias and Burnout report showed the physician burnout rate is 51 percent, an increase of more than 25 percent in four years.
Physicians are frustrated and burned out, for good reason.
The practice of medicine has changed significantly in the past decade. Most physician practices are now using electronic health record (EHRs), meaning physicians spend more time inputting patient information into a computer and less time interacting meaningfully with their patients.
At the same, physicians are grappling with the alphabet soup of quality measures: MACRA, MIPS, STARS, HEDIS, DSRIP, CPC+, and more. Far too often, these programs are duplicative, increasing the administrative burden on physicians and their staff. In the minds of physicians, too many measures lack a causal link to the care they provide and to patient outcomes.
It’s no surprise that four of the top five sources of physician burnout in the recent Medscape survey are related to the business and regulation of medicine:
- Too many bureaucratic tasks
- Spending too many hours at work
- Feeling like a cog in the wheel
- Increasing computerization of practice (EHRs)
Physicians are frustrated and burned out, but it doesn’t have to be this way.
On one hand, physician surveys have called attention to the escalating problem of physician frustration and burnout, and that’s a good thing.
On the other hand, far too little has been done to improve physician satisfaction. All of us who use the healthcare system, and especially those of us who work in healthcare, ought to be concerned and asking ourselves what can we do to alleviate physician burnout.
At Geneia, we did just that.
We asked, “What if technology had a heart and could restore the Joy of Medicine to frustrated and burned out physicians?” and answered, “At Geneia, it does.”
Let’s return to the alphabet soup of quality measures. The burden for closing care gaps such as mammograms, colonoscopies and hemoglobin A1c tests for diabetics falls to physicians; the burden of reporting, a far too manual process for many practices, does too. The growing emphasis on quality measures has turned gap closing and reporting into a significant pain point for physicians.
There is a better way.
EHRs typically include some-to-all clinical information. In contrast, Geneia’s Theon® analytics and insights solution aggregates claims and clinical information from many sources such as ADT (admissions, discharge and transfer), pharmacy and lab. This creates a true 360-view of each patient – one that incorporates interactions with all providers, even out-of-network ones, all medications, even those that were not filled or refilled, all labs and diagnostic tests, regardless of who ordered them, analytically-driven insights around disease prevalence, and even the patient’s financial reality in terms of health insurance, co-pays and deductibles.
Until recently, physicians have had to rely principally on accurate claims information to demonstrate, for example, that a 55-year-old woman has had a colonoscopy. Yet, what if Vienna Ragusa is new to the practice and had a colonoscopy two years ago? It’s noted in her medical record, along with a recommendation that she have a second one in eight years, but there is not nor will there be a corresponding claim.
Rather than rely on ‘chart chasing’ by health plan nurses sent to physician offices to page through medical charts, Vienna’s physician practice uses the Theon® platform to upload supplemental information, automatically close this gap in care and satisfy the health plan’s desire to meet this HEDIS® measure. Similarly, the Theon® platform brings in clinical and claims information from her eye physician, who is in a different health system than her primary care physician, and uses that information to automatically close her care gap of an annual eye exam to screen for diabetic retinopathy.
The Theon® platform’s data aggregation and analytics capabilities allows for the automatic closure of many care gaps, lessening the administrative burden on physicians and staff. It also helps physicians like Dr. Allen and those practicing at Commonwealth Physicians regain time in their day - time to spend with higher-need patients or their families.
In the words of Dr. Allen, “For the first time in more than a decade, I no longer feel shackled to my computer screen and I have enough time for all of my patients on most days – and that’s meant that I’ve been able to once again feel the Joy of Medicine.”
* The experiences of Dr. Allen and Commonwealth Physicians are illustrative examples based upon the actual experience of Geneia clients. This information is provided for illustrative purposes only. These people are fictional and not intended to represent specific persons. Any direct similarities to any real person are purely coincidental and unintentional.