Physician burnout has always been an issue in the hospital system but now during these tough pandemic times, it’s paramount that we do what we can to prevent burnout. The mental and physical health of hospitalists is just as important as the patients in the beds. Balanced workloads will keep your hospitalists from burning out. Providing support systems and resources when workload becomes tough will also decrease the chances of burnout.
Factors that contribute to burnout, according to a recent KLAS study:
- Staff shortages
- Workplace conditions
- Lack of teamwork
- Lack of training
- Lack of tools
- Non-efficient EHR
- Manual processes
KLAS research found that physicians are increasingly likely to attribute their burnout to a “chaotic work environment,” while nurses are more likely to blame after-hours workloads than they were before COVID. The surges in COVID cases have created chaotic environments within hospitals as beds are filling up and patients are being boarded in the emergency department. These surges put a great deal of responsibilities and stress on hospitalists and nurses. What do you do when the hospital fills up and can no longer admit patients? Are hospital medicine teams trained for these situations? Are they equipped with the necessary tools for efficiently admitting and discharging patients in a timely manner? These are the questions that need to be asked when looking at the causes of burnout.
“Not only is burnout increasing, but the rate of increase has sharply accelerated in 2021. The rise of the Delta variant is likely a significant factor in this acceleration – from Q2 to Q3 2021 (as the delta variant was ramping up), Collaborativedata shows a sharp rise in the number of clinicians linking their burnout to COVID-19.” – Jacob Jeppson & Elizabeth Pew (KLAS “Clinician Burnout 2021” White Paper)
Unfair Rounding Lists
Hospitalists may receive their patient list and feel that they have an unfair workload. Since the patients are manually and arbitrarily decided, the hospitalist may wonder if patient history, geography, or continuity were taken into consideration when assignments were made. If the lists were created by an automated system, the information such as patient history, geography, continuity of care, previous hospitalizations, and more would be taken into consideration. That way, everyone can feel confident that the rules are being applied in an unbiased way.
If the patient assignment process were to be automated, all these considerations would be automatically taken into consideration when weighing out patients. For example, if a patient admitted overnight has history with Hospitalist B and the hospitalist is currently on shift, that specific criterion should come into play when assigning the patients. But then geography comes into play, the severity of the illness, and so on. It’s difficult to incorporate so many variables into a manual process. A Lead Nocturnist assigning patients will do everything they can to create fair workloads between their hospitalists, but challenges will surely arise manually.
The Hidden Costs of Manual Patient Assignment eBook
Creating patients lists manually comes at a cost – for your staff and your patients. In this eBook, we’ll learn about how it costs your hospital medicine teams revenue, causes burnout, impacts patient safety; and how to solve these challenges.