January 4, 2022

Understanding and Resolving Doctor Burnout: The Next Healthcare Crisis

Carrie French
January 4, 2022
min read

Researchers were worried about physician burnout long before the pandemic rocked the industry. In 2018, nearly half of all doctors reported signs of burnout, including prolonged exhaustion, depression, suicidal ideation, and symptoms of extreme stress.

Now, doctors aren’t just struggling – they’re failing to cope altogether. Nearly half a million healthcare workers have walked off the job or were laid off since the start of the pandemic in February 2020, and a survey estimates that 31% of remaining staff have also considered leaving.

Physicians are notoriously resilient, but the common drivers of burnout are piling up. How can we help?

  1. Administrative burdens and billing issues.
  2. Doctors are overwhelmed with documentation requirements and administrative tasks, many of which used to be handled by other members of the care team. Billing and reimbursements for virtual care, in particular, can add stress to the process if the platform is poorly designed. Telehealth tools should streamline and automate mandatory tasks for providers.
  3. Liability and regulatory concerns.
  4. Faced with ever-changing COVID-19 safety protocols and restrictions, many providers turned to telehealth or remote monitoring platforms to fill the gaps. Although doctors and patients may feel more confident in their physical safety during virtual visits, privacy and liability concerns feed into stressful skepticism.

    Virtual care platforms must do their part to protect providers with NCQA-accredited protocols and HIPAA-compliant technology.
  5. Lack of support staff.
  6. Doctors need a recovery period to heal after workplace trauma and release long-term stress. Many hospitals have limited resources on-site, but remote patient monitoring can extend access to a wider team and relieve overworked providers.

    For example, Welby Health’s telehealth platform is backed by licensed RNs and certified case managers who can take on virtual health coaching and disease management tasks to give burned-out providers a break.
  7. Focus on negative outcomes.
  8. The pandemic exacerbated depression and dissociation as physicians experienced death on a never-before-seen scale. Even while teams pulled together to rise to the immediate challenge, many providers spoke about the post-traumatic stress that was left behind in the wake of overwhelmingly negative encounters.

    Most doctors, especially those who are overworked, only interact with patients when something goes wrong. Remote patient monitoring can deepen relationships by maintaining connections between visits. By accessing ongoing care data, physicians can also experience more joy and see that their therapies are working.
  9. Minimal patient engagement.
  10. Joint decision-making and collaborative treatment planning have been shown to increase patient compliance and outcomes. How can doctors encourage patients to take part in the conversation and take an active role in their care? Open communication channels, patient education workshops, and self-management tools have a positive impact on everyone.
  11. Poorly designed technology.
  12. Digital health records and remote patient monitoring data help providers make more informed decisions, but many hospitals and clinics still face debilitating tech hurdles. By partnering with telehealth platforms, doctors can outsource technology struggles and access state-of-the-art solutions.

At Welby Health, we are passionate about creating futureproof solutions to empower the healthcare industry and achieve better outcomes for everyone. As pioneers in virtual care, we strive to unlock resources, solve problems, and help doctors achieve a healthier work-life balance.

Carrie French
11 Jan 2022
5 min read

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