Physician burnout has reached epidemic proportions for healthcare providers across the U.S. The long shifts, demanding pace, and extensive patient loads have always made healthcare environments of every size a veritable breeding ground for excessive stress and anxiety. However, recent provider trends, such as the ever-increasing physician shortage, integration of new technologies, evolving work responsibilities, and shifting payment models have exacerbated our physicians' fatigue levels. A 2018 report revealed that an astonishing 83 percent of practitioners, clinical leads, and organizational executives viewed physician burnout as an issue within their facility.
Are You Proactively Managing Physician Stress and Fatigue at Your Practice?
Many providers and physicians, convinced that chronic stress is simply part of the job description, ignore the signs of impending burnout for as long as possible. Unfortunately, not only are their efforts to condition themselves to the constant pressure, tension, and anxiety found at their place of business often futile, but dismissing the symptoms of emotional fatigue can also have significant consequences on the practice as a whole. When left unnoticed, unmanaged, and untreated, chronic physician exhaustion can deteriorate several vital provider components, including:
Perhaps the biggest way that physician fatigue can negatively impact a practice is by hindering outcomes for patients. Recent research reveals that a provider struggling with burnout may actually double the potential of an adverse patient safety episode. The report went on to outline how clinicians suffering depression symptoms stemming from burnout experienced more pronounced risks to patient safety, increasing the chance of a medical error occurring.
Burnout is marked by several distinguishing factors, including depersonalization, emotional and mental exhaustion, as well as low levels of self-esteem and personal accomplishment. Additionally, many doctors may find themselves overwhelmed with anger, frustration, and lack of fulfillment. When navigating through this type of emotional duress, many physicians find themselves unable to maintain appropriate levels of professionalism. As a result, they may find it difficult to be fully present during a shift, have negative feelings towards patients, and be unable to assess their own output accurately.
The rising prevalence of clinician burnout also drives employee turnover at healthcare facilities across the country. A 2019 report published in the Annals of Internal Medicine revealed that physician turnover costs associated with burnout can reach as much as $17 billion annually.
Eventually, the adverse effects of provider burnout may negatively influence the patient experience and overall satisfaction scores of the facility. As medical environments transition from fee-based to a value-based reimbursement model, consumer satisfaction will play an integral role in a healthcare organization's place in a highly competitive marketplace. If patients aren't happy with the care received from a provider, they may share negative reviews and/or leave the practice entirely.
Locum Tenens Doctors Can Help Reduce Burnout Levels at Your Practice
Increasing awareness of the impact of clinician fatigue, coupled with the alarming (and rapidly increasing) physician shortage throughout the U.S., has prompted healthcare administrators to reevaluate available resources within their facility. As a result, many have embraced Locum Tenens physicians as part of their hiring model. Locum Tenens doctors help reduce patient load, administrative paperwork, and staff obligations. These trained, skilled, and experienced practitioners instantly create much-needed bandwidth for existing clinicians to rest, recover, and rejuvenate, potentially helping to ward off the damaging impact of burnout.
Contact LT Partners today for more information on how Locum Tenens staffing can help reduce burnout at your healthcare facility.