Lately, we’ve been hearing a lot about medical practitioners and physicians experiencing significant burnout at work. In fact, burn out rates are at an all-time high these days, costing the U.S healthcare system over $4.6 billion a year in lost care.
Overexertion can lead to doctors taking extreme measures such as cutting back on their hours or even quitting their medical careers altogether. A new study says that burnout symptoms can consist of “emotional exhaustion, feelings of cynicism and detachment from work, and a low sense of personal accomplishment.”
This definition fits well with that of the World Health Organization (WHO) as well, whose new definition calls it a “syndrome” and specifically ties burnout to “chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.”
So what are some reasons physicians are experiencing so much stress? Most of them enjoy helping patients and are passionate about the impact they make, but find it hard to manage the rest of their practice.
Increased reporting and legislative requirements, inefficient billing and record systems are some of the things that can cause doctors to feel overwhelmed and overworked. To help combat burnout, we’ve listed a few tips to help practitioners stay balanced and in control of their work:
1. Redefine Your ‘Why’ – Connect
So often, physicians can get caught up in a whirlwind of tasks and activities that take place in their practice on a daily basis. This can lead to working on autopilot instead of actively engaging and choosing the things that one does.
Ask yourself, why did you get into this practice in the first place? What brings joy to your day as you move around and interact with others?
For most doctors, connecting with patients more often can bring back that passion. Check up on them and build stronger connections with those that come to you for care. As for your staff, taking the same approach can lead to a lot more positivity and fun at work.
2. Clear the Plate
Needless to say, those close to burnout have compiled a dizzying array of tasks on their plate. It’s time to get back to basics and focus on only the tasks that you really enjoy and excel at. Everything else should be delegated or outsourced to others on your team or professionals.
For example, outsourcing your medical billing operations to professionals like Billing Savi can save you tremendous headaches. Let the experts focus on optimizing and increasing revenue cycles, while you channel your energy into the medical care and services needed.
When delegating tasks to others, focus on ways that they can improve their workflow as well. Help your staff set up templates and systems that make recurring tasks easy to replicate. At home, hire some help to clean and maintain your home, try home delivery cooking services, or schedule a weekly bath time.
Basically, cut down on the nonessential tasks that are siphoning your time.
3. Take Stock
Sometimes we get so eager to charge forward and grow our practices, that we forget about quality control. Look around at your practice and ask yourself whether everything is truly optimized and functioning properly. Could your operations use some tweaking before you try to take on new patients?
A successful practice must be built on a solid foundation, so taking the time to ensure everything is running smoothly can be time well spent.
Spend some time revisiting procedures and policies that were set in place years ago. Update the things that have been neglected or overlooked. Growing too fast can put a strain on an organization and cause problems in areas that were quietly malfunctioning.
Doing so is a great way to invest your time and energy, while also slowing down unnecessary growth to a more manageable pace.