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Leveraging Technology to Keep Burnout at Bay in Healthcare

Jim Talley

Improving the healthcare industry’s IT infrastructure can help reduce employee turnover and keep burnout at bay.

Burnout — an intense form of exhaustion brought on by demanding working conditions — has become a serious problem for healthcare professionals. Those suffering from the condition experience not only fatigue, but frustration, cynicism, and reduced job efficiency, all of which put practitioners and patients alike in jeopardy.

In 2017, a report found that more than half of U.S. physicians and one-third of nurses experience symptoms of burnout, a rate nearly twice that of other industries. Multiple other studies support these findings, pointing to an annual increase in burnout among healthcare professionals. According to these studies, higher rates of burnout lead to higher rates of employee turnover, a correlation that, considering the impending physician shortage, gives cause for concern.

The home healthcare industry has been particularly impacted, with turnover rates between 50 and 60 percent annually. While many initiatives aim to reverse these rates through increased pay and better benefits, they often fail to consider the intense emotional labor required of home healthcare workers, many of whom report feeling like little more than “replaceable parts.”

Fortunately, a new report from the National Academy of Medicine has found that improving the usability of health IT infrastructure and technology can help reduce burnout among healthcare workers.

Electronic Health Records Benefit Patients and Clinicians

One form of technology that can benefit clinicians and healthcare workers is Electronic Health Records (EHRs). Traditionally, every specialist or caregiver had their own system of record-keeping. This made accessing and sharing critical patient information among multiple healthcare providers exceedingly difficult.

Thanks to EHRs, clinicians can now access a comprehensive picture of a patient’s health and care history in just a few clicks. By digitizing patient records, EHRs reduce errors associated with manual data entry and notify clinicians of conflicts with proposed courses of treatment.

EHRs also help drastically reduce time-consuming administrative tasks. At present, physicians spend approximately half of their day filling out paperwork and only a quarter of their time directly working with patients. With a well-designed, well-implemented EHR platform, clinicians can spend more time and energy doing what they love — engaging with patients — and less time getting bogged down by logistical tasks.

How the Electronic Visit Verification Mandate Comes into Play

Passed in 2016 as part of the 21st Century Cures Act, the Electronic Visit Verification (EVV) mandate requires that all Medicaid-funded home health agencies use electronic systems to verify, document, and track metrics related to each home visit. While the name “mandate” may imply an extra set of hoops to jump through, the EVV requirement actually benefits home healthcare workers in a variety of ways.

EVV boosts productivity by allowing clinicians to digitally check into appointments rather than manually completing extensive paperwork for every session. This leads to faster, more accurate billing and, like EHRs, allows providers to spend more time on the parts of their job they enjoy. EVV also improves the lines of communication between healthcare professionals, ensuring they receive the comprehensive support they need to ensure patients have access to consistent, high-quality care.

Take Health IT to New Heights With the Right Partner

There’s no question about it: healthcare IT software and devices have the power to minimize burnout and reduce turnover. But to deliver on this promise, healthcare tech companies must ensure their products are rolled out and implemented effectively.

That’s where we come in. At Epiphany, we conduct in-depth end-user training and provide 24/7/365 support to ensure our clients’ tech solutions serve to minimize clinician burnout, not add to it. As a HIPAA-compliant remote IT support provider with a speciality in the healthcare space, we’re proud to do our part in improving the lives of nurses, physicians, home healthcare providers, and beyond. Contact us today to learn more.

Jim Talley

Jim Talley

President & COO

Jim started his working life as a contact center agent before working his way up through the ranks over the course of a 30-year career. He now leads Epiphany’s contact center operations.

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