Do you remember Kit Kat’s ad featuring Jason Statham and the words he said? Those about salmons?
“The salmon spends its life relentlessly trying to get upstream,
with ceaseless endeavour it fights the currents of massive rivers,
drags itself over rocks and shallow water,
forces its way up huge waterfalls.
Never stops, never rests,
just battles and battles its way upstream,
it reaches its goal
and it’s absolutely knackered
and it dies.
Remember, you are not a salmon.”
The message here is clearly not about fish, and it’s much deeper than the thing that is advertised. Too many people are too much concentrated on their business and careers and forget about simple things all of us need, such as rest and the time spent with families and friends.
Well-known extremes of nowadays life: “achievers” and “performers”, making professional carrier their first priority, devote their lives to the chain of goals, deadlines, project, to-do lists and acquisitions. To be a high-achiever is a key to success. But the dark side of the picture is that the people who work exceptionally long hours with exceedingly heavy loads are prone to burnout.
What is burnout? Mayo Clinic defines job burnout as “a special type of job stress — a state of physical, emotional or mental exhaustion combined with doubts about your competence and the value of your work”.
The problem of employee burnout is well known in many industries, including healthcare. This is no wonder as there’s enough prolonged stress and frustration as the work in healthcare is quite chaotic and hazing. Health managers try to solve this problem using various techniques and among other things hospital staff management apps and medical apps for doctors, sometimes companies can even create an app to engage physicians aiming to decrease the level of stress and burnout.
Decreasing Physician Burnout – How Deep Is the Problem?
Why do we speak about physicians here? Because the physician’s burnout rate is higher than other professions rate. According to Medscape National Physician Burnout & Depression Report 2018, which covers over 15,000 physicians from 29 specialties, 42% of the surveyed physicians reported burnout.
Here are some more sad facts about burnout in healthcare systems:
The Geneia survey of over 400 full-time practicing physicians shows that 67% of surveyed doctors know a physician suffering from burnout which may lead him/her to stop practicing medicine in the next five years.
According to Medscape the physicians are twice more likely to commit suicide than the general population. The American Foundation for Suicide Preventions says that an estimated 300–400 physicians die by suicide in the U.S. per year.
Satisfaction with work-life balance among physicians in the US is much lower than among other US workers. The original investigation revealed that “physicians in specialties at the front line of care access seem to be at greatest risk”. Other studies show that only 41% of surveyed doctors are satisfied with their work-life balance.
The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) revealed that “primary care physicians suffer from significantly higher rates of burnout than physicians in other specialties”.
Looks scary enough, doesn’t it? And now the tough part – physician burnout takes a heavy toll both on doctors and their patients.
What Are the Consequences of Physician Burnout?
The doctor experiencing burnout can become cynical and critical at work. He/she can become irritable or impatient with co-workers and patients. Burnout causes lack of energy to be productive at work and makes a doctor dissatisfied with his/her achievements. Among physical signs of burnout, there are changed sleep habits or appetite, unexplained headaches, backaches and other physical complaints, and even alcohol or drug abuse.
At work physician burnout can result in impaired judgment, lack of attention to detail, and communication failure, to name a few. Effects of burnout can lead to a patient not getting proper treatment and affect patient health outcomes The American Academy of Family Physicians cites the research that shows that “symptoms of physician burnout can be connected with increased rates of medical errors, riskier prescribing patterns, and lower patient adherence to chronic disease management plans”. Anyway, physician burnout serves no one’s interest.
Possible Way to Fix the Problem Is to Build an App for Protecting Doctors from Stress
Reducing physician burnout is a critical task for healthcare organizations. This issue must be dealt with openly and proactively using every possible tool to help doctors cope with their problems. Many organizations have workplace programs to reduce stress and burnout of their employees. Some companies try to identify the causes of burnout and address them. Medscape surveys, for example, revealed several such possible burnout causes:
Too many bureaucratic tasks;
Too many hours at work;
And, strange though it may sound, increasing computerization.
All problems can be solved using the proper management tools and leveraging technology. Effective management and system-wide approach, like the one launched by Southern California Permanente Medical Group (SCPMG) can unburden physicians. According to Harvard Business Review, the program Complete Care allows to share accountability with specialists, standardize the medical process, and leverage technology (such as various mobile apps for doctors and patients).
One possible track for a company to getting burnout decreased is to build a mobile app for physician engagement. Such an app can help doctors to identify and control the stressors that contribute to job burnout, measure the time spent on various activities at work and, for example, assess interests, skills, and passions, measure regular physical activity and life/work balance.
What Do You Need to Develop a Physician Engagement App?
First of all, you have to define what the app will be aimed at. It can be targeted at professional values of the company and the possibility to self-educate, share best practices and evaluate the degree of doctors’ engagement in the care process. It can also help the achievers to measure their work/life balance and provide hints and alerts about possible sources of burnout they should keep an eye on.
Then you have to find an IT services provider or software development company keen in development of such apps, having knowledge and experience in healthcare IT and capable to comply with all standards and regulations for the healthcare industry. Working together with such a partner you can get the app you need gearing to the specific issues your company has. Reliable IT partner will develop, test and support the app.
Archer Software has 19+ years of experience in healthcare IT outsourcing. Our team of professionals created various platforms and applications in order to make both doctor and patient lives easier and safer. Our healthcare-related portfolio already includes a family of apps that can help people tracking the distribution of priorities in their lives. The app Shift Life Wheel developed by Archer Software allows to keep balance without resorting to extremes.
Reach out to us directly or give us your contact information and information about the solution you are looking for. We’ll gladly become your partner and develop the app you need.