Clinician Burnout Can be Overcome
- Care team collaboration technology curtails burnout
- Short story – a nurse’s stressful experience, and a better way
- Dropped communications can become a thing of the past
Several media and academic reports lately have focused on the growing trend of burnout among nurses, physicians and other care givers (see sources below). Almost every article highlights EMRs, clerical work and data entry as a contributor to burnout.
A Short Story
An on-duty nurse is approaching shift change. She’s already late updating her patient charts.
While updating charts, a physician returns a page the nurse sent earlier, and the call comes to the nurses’ station. The unit clerk takes the message and later passes the note to the nurse. She adds the note to the collection in her pocket and continues updating charts.
In the meantime, the next shift nurse is late, and an alert comes in from a patient down the hall. Our nurse drops what she’s doing and responds to the patient, whose medication is making him restless and irritable. After getting him settled down, our now-stressed nurse glances at her watch, and remembers her two children will soon be out of school. It’s her turn to pick them up.
She hurries off to pick up her kids and completely forgets about the physician’s message regarding one of her patients that’s sitting in her pocket.
When she returns to work the next day, she receives a reprimand in an email, related to the forgotten message. This isn’t the first time this has happened. The nurse is now distracted and unhappy about the reprimand. She feels tired and her shift has barely started. She starts thinking about looking for a new opportunity.
With about 4.5 million active nurses and physicians in the United States, how many times a day does this scenario repeat itself?
Now imagine this scenario.
In a forward thinking hospital across town, the exact same scenario unfolds. A physician needs to communicate with a patient’s nurse, and it happens to be close to shift change.
However, this hospital’s new care team collaboration platform not only enables the physician to send this message securely, from a mobile app, but it can also automatically address the physician’s message directly to the patient’s nurse on duty.
The nurse can then easily respond via text, when she has a free moment, or she can add the new shift nurse to the message to ensure the information isn’t lost or delayed.
Alternatively, if she isn’t able to respond to the message within a reasonable amount of time, the message can be automatically escalated to other care team members, resulting in an alert reminder to the physician that the message is still outstanding if no response is received.
The patient-centric message and related time-sensitive details are captured, organized and available for on-the-fly care team consumption and action, along with an audit trail and analytics for detailed insights.
Isn’t this exceptionally better than the old way of doing things?
Using Collaboration Tech to Curtail Burnout
Stress in caregiver teams is acute because it carries more weight in life and death situations. If we can use technology to create a synthetic heart, why can’t we use it to reduce stress at the nurses’ station?
Let’s compare results from the two scenarios:
Today’s clinical care collaboration platforms are light years beyond basic texts, pagers, voicemail, hand written notes, overhead paging and other legacy communication types.
Care team collaboration platforms, like ours:
- Connect physicians and nurses across the healthcare spectrum
- Support mobile communication across all members of the care team
- Expedite responses to changing patient conditions
- Increase patient safety and reduce medical errors due to breakdowns in communications
- Allows users to manage their notifications, both inbound and outbound
- Deliver mass notifications and escalate important messages automatically
Your organization’s goal for a new care team collaboration platform should be to overcome persistent team communication challenges that have existed for years. These challenges, today, are intensified by the heavy volume of clerical and data entry work now required of caregivers.
Imagine it. Clinical communication that allows you to thrive under stressful circumstances.
Now that’s advancement.
1 “Leadership Survey: Immunization Against Burnout”, NEJM Catalyst, April 12, 2018
2 “Avoiding Physician/Clinician Burnout—The Role of the EMR”, Advance Healthcare Network, March 7, 2018
3 “Why 83% of Health Care Workers Say Burnout is a Problem—And What You Can Do About It”, Advisory Board, May 11, 2018
4 “A Crisis in Healthcare: A Call to Action on Physician Burnout”, Harvard Global Health Institute, Massachusetts Medical Society, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Massachusetts Health and Hospital Association
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