8 meaningful ways to improve the clinician experience

Healthcare organizations can take steps to enable physicians to focus more on caring for patients rather than other tasks.

Clinician burnout
Improving documentation and reducing administrative hassle are two important ways to support clinicians in their work.

With increasing shortages, healthcare organizations need to find better ways to recruit and retain their clinicians.

Here are a few key steps for dealing with shortages by improving the clinician experience:

1. Improve the documentation experience

Documentation can be frustrating for clinicians. Because of paper workarounds, many clinicians end up writing notes in different formats – paper, email, text, google docs – throughout the day, and then spend time finding and re-writing all this information for the official patient note in the EHR.

In addition to this duplicative documentation, complying with an ever-increasing number of regulations and coping with an increased number of patient visits can contribute to the sheer amount of notes that clinicians need to write.

Better tech can help clinicians focus on their patients while still documenting the relevant patient information.

2. Reduce administrative work

In a survey conducted for this year’s Medscape Physician Burnout and Depression Report, 60 percent of physician respondents said that the main contributor to their burnout is too many bureaucratic and administrative tasks. Clinicians spend hours each day on administrative work, which is time that they are not able to spend with patients.

In an interview for the “Sharp Conversations” podcast series, Lee Buttz, MD, chief medical officer of Tandigm Health, he discusses the importance of reducing administrative work by increasing staffing support, adjusting regulations and giving clinicians better tech to make their work more efficient.

3. Give clinicians autonomy with their tech

Clinicians do not get much choice in the technology they use, which can be frustrating. In another Sharp Conversations interview, Gabe Charbonneau, MD, a family physician and co-founder of Medicine Forward, talks about how a lack of autonomy with technology leaves clinicians feeling drained.

“We’re trying to help reverse this trend of everyone being grounded from working in the EMR and feeling like they have less autonomy than ever, and that their jobs are just exhausting,” he says.

Allow clinicians to be involved in decisions about the technology they use, and encourage the IT department to work with clinicians to optimize the current technology to better fit clinician workflows. 

4. Give clinicians more time to do meaningful work

“There are so many opportunities … to fix the way workflows are, so that we can spend the majority of our time focused on doing what’s meaningful to us – connecting to patients, doing procedures that make a difference in people’s lives, educating people who are coming up through the ranks, and working on research and innovation to improve healthcare,” says Paul DeChant, MD, a consultant and speaker. in an interview Sharp Communications.

This can be by removing unnecessary tasks, sharing work better between care teams, and giving clinicians tools to make them more efficient with the administrative work they do need to complete.

5. Address workplace violence

Workplace violence is a major issue impacting healthcare workers. How can clinicians put all their attention toward patient care if they are worried about their psychological and physical safety?

Organizations can take proactive steps to address safety, such as creating a workplace violence prevention program and investing in technology or processes that help the entire care team feel safe.

6. Increase conversations between leaders and clinicians

There is often a disconnect between leadership and clinicians working directly with patients. Improving communication between leaders and clinicians can help improve clinicians’ experience, patient outcomes and the health systems’ success.

Leaders can get input from clinicians and create meeting times to work around clinicians’ patient schedules. Another extremely effective solution is to have leaders shadow clinicians for a day so they can see firsthand why some solutions are better than others.

7. Support clinician’s mental health

The last few years have been brutal for healthcare workers. Many are struggling with stress and mental health concerns.

However, not all healthcare workers have access to mental health services, or there may be stigma or licensure concerns. Providing mental health support, and de-stigmatizing this treatment, can help encourage clinicians to seek help when they need it.

8. Provide fair compensation and maintain adequate staffing levels

Many organizations are stretched thin, so providing fair compensation as well as adequate staffing levels can prove challenging. If your organization is having trouble with staffing issues, work with your clinicians to create a plan for what to do if a unit is short-staffed.

Tristan Dooley is director of operations for CareAlign.

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