Let me say at the outset how thrilled and honored I was to discuss solutions to the epidemic of physician burnout with three prominent healthcare leaders:
- Rasu Shrestha, MD, Chief Strategy Officer & Executive Vice President, Atrium Health
- Geeta Nayyar, MD, nationally recognized health IT leader and board-certified rheumatologist
- Janae Sharp, Founder of the Sharp Index and Utah HIMSS Board Member
I am pleased to share the video series with you. Watch Now
The panel, Leveraging High-Tech Tools in the Fight Against Physician Burnout, was a rare opportunity to collaborate with some of the best minds in healthcare and deliberate ways to remedy the complex challenge of physician dissatisfaction. Chances are, if there were an easy solution to the problem, the smart minds in healthcare would have figured it out by now.
The Physician Misery Index
To refresh your memory, Geneia’s national survey of physicians in 2018 found the Physician Misery Index has climbed to nearly four out of five. Among the more troubling findings,
- 80 percent of surveyed physicians say they are personally at risk for burnout at some point in their career
- 87 percent say they find it increasingly harder to spend time “developing an authentic engagement with each patient.”
Physician dissatisfaction is everyone’s problem
It may be tempting to think physician burnout is someone else’s problem, but in fact, we know it adversely impacts physicians, hospitals, healthcare systems, health plans, employers and even patients.
Some of the dire effects of physician dissatisfaction are:
Physician dissatisfaction is likely to exacerbate the projected physician shortage at the same time the Silver Tsunami and the increasing prevalence of chronic conditions means we’re consuming more healthcare. An Association of American Medical Colleges study predicts a shortage of between 42,600 and 121,300 physicians by 2030. Burned out physicians are more likely to leave clinical practice in advance of retirement. In Geneia’s national survey of physicians, 70 percent admitted they know a doctor who is likely to stop practicing medicine in the next few years, as a result of physician burnout.
Research shows physician burnout doubles the odds of a patient safety incident. It’s also associated with poorer care and lower patient satisfaction.
Nearly all physicians (96 percent) report they have personally witnessed or personally experienced negative impacts as a result of physician burnout such as cynicism (78 percent), dissatisfied patients (66 percent), severe stress (65 percent) and lower empathy for patients (64 percent).
Cost of physician turnover
In the words of Abraham Verghese, MD:
"The total cost of recruiting a physician can be nearly $90,000, but the lost revenue per physician who leaves is between $500,000 and $1 million, even more in high-paying specialties. Turnover begets more turnover because those left behind feel more stress.”
Restoring the Joy of Medicine
That’s why Geneia’s Joy of Medicine initiative has called on health IT vendors, in particular, but also everyone in healthcare to join us to fight burnout and help physicians reconnect to the reasons they choose a career in medicine. For most physicians, that’s the opportunity to work directly with patients and create the kind of meaningful relationships that lead to improved health. At Geneia, we’ve been working to help physicians save 90 minutes a day, which reduces physician burnout and the administrative burden most doctors feel.
Just as importantly, we know that which gets measured gets done. Geneia is committed to:
- Measuring the satisfaction of physicians as a part of onboarding new clients for our analytics and insights platform,
- Surveying the physicians who use our products annually to gauge changes in sentiment and
- Working with those doctors to remedy their technology and analytics pain points.
We invite all health IT companies to join us. An easy way to get started is to use the nine-question survey we created.
And don’t forget to watch the video series, Leveraging High-Tech Tools in the Fight Against Physician Burnout.