Recent technological advances in healthcare bring innovative approaches to improve clinical care, support better patient outcomes, and deliver superior patient experiences. These improvements have a significant effect on overall healthcare delivery system performance and costs.
At the same time, provider burnout is (and has been) skyrocketing; it’s felt across care teams in most healthcare settings. Studies are showing that burnout is increasing, and the U.S. Surgeon General has issued an advisory highlighting the need to address healthcare worker burnout across the country. Technology advancements, such as Care Management platforms, can support providers and care teams experiencing burnout.
Burnout is a major challenge. It can lead to low morale, poor patient outcomes, and negative patient and provider experiences. In the best of times, providers and care teams working in clinical settings are in a high-stress environment. The ongoing challenges of COVID-19 have multiplied these pressures; healthcare workers are still feeling these impacts with little relief.
A recent analysis of studies by the American Psychological Association identified three major areas of provider burnout, and identified some opportunities to support teams moving forward. Stress at work for short-staffed and overworked teams typically hit from three areas: job-related stresses (workload challenges, lack of staff and lack of time), organization-related stresses (lack of clarity tied to roles/responsibilities and team conflicts), and work-life-related stresses (managing work priorities against personal life responsibilities.)
Burnout can lead to short-staffed organizations, further compounding the challenges faced by healthcare workers. Both New York and California are faced with a significant deficit of healthcare workers in the coming years, with each state potentially falling short by 500,000 workers by 2026. The Great Resignation has affected multiple sectors, and healthcare is no exception. Recent surveys indicate that nearly 20% of healthcare workers have quit their job during the pandemic, another 31% are considering leaving, and almost 80% have indicated that the shortage of workers has impacted their experience.
How can technology support overworked and short-staffed organizations? One key area of focus is Care Management software, especially those that are intuitively designed to support teams, reduce inefficiencies, and support the delivery of high-quality care.
How to know when care teams are feeling overworked
Organizations that are short-staffed and whose remaining staff are overworked are more likely to experience burnout across their teams. Burnout is a form of exhaustion experienced as a result of excessive and prolonged physical, mental, and emotional stress. Burnout in healthcare is not uncommon, as workers are frequently confronted with emergencies, long hours, challenging situations, and the demands of navigating a balance between work and personal responsibilities. The COVID-19 pandemic magnified these pressures.
Stressful and emotional situations at work along with long shifts, schedule changes, and exposure to infectious diseases can lead to burnout. Burnout can present as exhaustion, depression, anxiety, insomnia, and reduced job satisfaction. Combined, these issues can affect performance at work. They can cause dips in the quality of care provided and even risk patient safety. Organizations seeing significant burnout also see more staff complaints, staff turnover, absences, and are unable to provide a strong team environment.
With these effects of burnout, low morale can spread among teams and impact patient experience as well. Patients who encounter overworked, short-staff settings have worse patient experiences and patient satisfaction scores drop. Organizations need to identify and address burnout to support their teams moving forward.
How can a Care Management platform support short-staffed organizations?
Care Management software is one solution to support overworked and short-staffed organizations. By addressing the challenges care teams face, these platforms aim to provide a solution and provide a central location for key patient information and priorities. A care-specific Care Management platform like Welkin works to reduce tasks, streamline operations, and make organizations more scalable. Opt for a customizable and fully-equipped platform like Welkin, instead of a one-size-fits-all program like typical EHRs.
Reduce redundancies and save time
A Care Management platform can reduce inefficient processes and give time back to care team members by automating and centralizing tasks. Care teams can update notes for patients in one place so all clinicians are on the same page in real time.
Care Management solutions make it easy to share data between care team members. Without an efficient platform, teams can take hours to update paperwork, fill out patient files, and complete administrative tasks manually.
Reduce unnecessary tasks through automation
Mundane, repetitive tasks can be one of the biggest time-wasters faced by care teams. Doctors have reported spending more than 15 hours per week on paperwork and administrative tasks. Many of these responsibilities can be automated and streamlined.
A Care Management platform can replace time-consuming all-hands meetings, pre- and post-case briefs, and time-consuming writeups. By centralizing communication, all care team members can be on the same page. Enabling role-based updates and tasks allows for a seamless transition of responsibilities when personnel move.
Utilizing a Care Management platform like Welkin allows care teams to access all data easily and quickly through its intuitive and customizable record keeping and clinical documentation integrations. Automating clinical workflows helps generate operational efficiencies, increases patient engagement, and allows for scalable growth.
Automated data collection and logging
Manually collecting and logging patient data is a time-consuming task that can often lead to care teams feeling overworked and overwhelmed. Automating this process through digital documentation offers more security, searchability, instant availability, reduced risk of error, centralizes all documentation, and reduces the burden of manual paperwork.
Multi-channel patient-provider communication
Implementing a Care Management platform that has direct communication capabilities allows for promoting plan adherence, retention, and better patient health outcomes. Welkin’s communication toolkit is equipped with synchronous, HIPAA-compliant video conferencing, asynchronous secure email, web-based or patient-facing chat, SMS, and MMS. These everyday communication channels allow care teams to seamlessly communicate with patients through one central program.
Increase patient satisfaction and spend more time with them
When care teams are juggling multiple priorities and devoting hours to administrative work, their attention isn’t always on the patient experience. When technology can support these tasks, providers and care teams are better positioned to focus on clinical priorities and patient care. Care teams spending less time on administrative tasks are also able to provide a better patient experience.
This approach improves morale and job satisfaction among healthcare workers. Studies indicate that when time limits are placed on patient visits, physicians are less satisfied with their jobs. In addition, longer visits are associated with better patient outcomes and better patient satisfaction.
Boost employee satisfaction
Implementing strategies to address burnout and staffing issues improves patient outcomes, as well as provider and employee satisfaction.
When healthcare organizations implement processes and workflows that run smoothly for care teams, their mood and demeanor improve. Care teams that are supported and satisfied are able to work efficiently, empowered in providing the best care to the patients they serve.
How Welkin Can Help
Healthcare organizations are seeking solutions to address high workloads and reduced staffing. In the past, technology has sometimes been seen as an impediment or burden to care teams, adding another task to the list to learn, understand, and incorporate. Now, with Care Management platforms like Welkin, technology can make workflows as streamlined as possible.
Welkin is designed to address care coordination and support care teams. By assigning the right care team member to address patient needs and providing comprehensive patient data at the clinician’s fingertips, Welkin enables seamless transitions. Care team members are able to deliver a curated experience for every patient served.
Care teams using Welkin are greeted with a home screen that provides a daily outline of patient appointments and related tasks, making it easy to prepare for the day ahead. The platform allows care teams to be more proactive; it identifies patients and workflows that require the most attention. This focuses the organization’s efforts to allow clinicians to see more patients and have more thoughtful interactions.
Welkin is specifically designed to work intuitively with care teams and deliver a positive user experience. The Care Management platform is particularly suited to support patients living with chronic conditions. Providers who serve patients with behavioral health, diabetes, hypertension, substance use disorder, and more specific subpopulations see significant benefits from deploying Welkin across their teams.
To learn more about how Welkin can support your team, request a demo.