How Telemedicine Can Reduce Physician Burnout
There are several different ways telemedicine can reduce physician burnout. You can learn more by checking out our guide right here.
Even before the age of COVID-19, physician burnout was becoming a significant issue in health care. An unmanageable workload, unrealistic expectations, and a sense of unfulfillment contribute to physicians experiencing negative feelings about their work.
It may surprise you that physicians have the highest suicide rate amongst any other profession. Between 300 and 400 physicians, a year die by suicide. This can often be attributed to the stress they experience daily due to their job and responsibilities.
This is where telemedicine can help. This article explains the benefits of implementing telemedicine software into a doctor’s practice and what it can do to reduce physician burnout in the healthcare industry.
What Is Physician Burnout?
Physician burnout is when a physician feels a sense of hopelessness and worthlessness about their career and what they’re doing. This might manifest in a lack of motivation or productivity, or they may suffer from depression or other mental health issues.
This can impact all aspects of their life.
It may lead to a strain in relationships, tension at work, and contribute to the doctor making severe mistakes when treating patients. This can cause injury or, in extreme cases, death.
This then ends up costing the healthcare industry millions of dollars a year in settlements. As a result, many physicians are leaving the healthcare industry altogether.
The signs of physician burnout are not only mental but physical as well. They may suffer from disturbed sleep, lack of appetite, frequent headaches, feeling ill or nauseous, or extreme fatigue or exhaustion.
It’s important to identify these physical symptoms so that measures can be put in place to prevent physician burnout.
Telemedicine Can Reduce Physician Burnout
Physicians today are dealing with many of the same stresses as the rest of us, with one major key difference: They’re also the ones that we depend on to heal the sick.
With more responsibility than ever, it can be easy to feel like they’re drowning in a sea of work, appointments, and patients. Telemedicine software can streamline many aspects of a physician’s workday.
Telemedicine Reduces Pressure
Juggling patient wait times, appointments, and patients can be one of the most stressful and challenging parts of a doctor’s office.
It can be difficult for a physician to do a fair assessment of every patient’s individual health whilst ensuring they get to see every patient on time.
Patients can become frustrated with long wait times, and these frustrations are sometimes taken out on the physician and medical staff. It can also create a hostile environment for everyone involved. This can build up over time leading to physician burnout, frustration, and loss of motivation.
Telemedicine appointments can now take place entirely online. This reduces the wait times and travel costs for patients because they can see their doctors from the comfort of their homes.
It takes the pressure off for physicians who can still speak with their patients but in a more relaxed environment, with fewer external distractions.
This reduction of pressure benefits both the patient and the physician.
Telemedicine Helps Focus on the Patient
The daily grind and job stress can make many physicians forget why they got into medicine in the first place.
The relentless nature of the work can get them into negative thought patterns. It also stops them from experiencing those important human moments.
Telemedicine helps to bring the focus back onto individual patients and helping them. By allowing all of the components of a health appointment to take place on the call, it puts the attention completely on the individual.
The physician can devote full attention to the patient without the fear of having lots of people in the waiting room to see. It promotes a better dialogue between the physician and the patient. It also contributes to a more positive and helpful exchange for both parties.
Telemedicine Prevents Extra Work Outside of Appointments
Another reason that physicians can experience burnout is filling in extraneous paperwork. It can mean them having to stay late after the practice closes to do this. This can often be an hour or two every day, which can add up to an extra 10 hours a week of work, on top of their normal duties.
This extra work can be detrimental to a physician’s work-life balance and cuts into their rest and recuperation time. However, with telemedicine, all of the forms and paperwork are completed in the appointment.
This means when they are finished with their patients for the day. They can switch off from work and go home to relax. A clear distinction between work and rest time is important for any physician. It keeps a positive outlook towards work and the responsibilities involved.
Telemedicine Stops Physicians from Feeling Overwhelmed
Experiencing too many busy ‘rush’ periods in a practice can make a physician feel overwhelmed. They can feel like they are unable to cope with the relentless surge of patients and demands. They then believe they are incapable of doing their job and making a difference in patient’s lives.
With telemedicine, that ‘rush’ feeling is removed as the patients are dealt with solely online. It removes those negative attributes of a full waiting area and allows patients to be dealt with in a more regimented and orderly manner.
It stops feelings of inadequacy and frustration from physicians. It helps them with providing quality and well-rounded medical care for all their patients.
Stopping Physician Burnout: Where Can I Find Out More?
We hope this article has been informative and helpful about the steps physicians can take to prevent physician burnout. Telemedicine can be an effective and necessary solution to protect them from the adverse effects of being stressed and overworked.
There must be a shift towards alternative methods of treating patients. It has to be in the best interest of the longevity of healthcare professionals’ wellbeing. And telemedicine can benefit not only physicians but patients as well.
It cuts down on the unnecessary face-to-face appointments that can be just as effective if done virtually.