Wake up. Documentation. See a patient. Documentation. See another patient. Documentation.
And thanks to EHRs and Meaningful Use Compliance, there’s more Documentation than ever before for physicians. It’s easy to see why they’re at the top of the list for professions with the highest rate of burnout.
In the 2015 Medscape Physician Lifestyle report, 46% of all physicians surveyed said they were burned out. That’s up 16% from the same survey conducted in 2013.
Burnout is associated with a loss of enthusiasm for work, feelings of cynicism, or a low sense of personal accomplishment. For physicians seeing more patients and performing more bereaucratic tasks, this is troubling—particularly amongst emergency, urgent care, and primary care physicians, where burnout rates are the highest.
The pressures of documentation, regulation after regulation, and the increasing changes in healthcare are enough to fill up a day. Then tack on a full patient load. How can physicians hope to maintain their sanity, while also maintaining a profitable business? And what will this mean for the sustainability and profitability of these fields of medicine, at a time when they are in more demand than ever?
Physicians who hope to navigate these complexities while maintaining profitability for their practice will have to adopt new patient payment solutions—especially automated solutions that can alleviate some of the burden they face.
But first, let's explore some of the largest contributors to physician burnout.
Health IT Complexities
EHRs, meant to improve efficiencies and practice operations, in fact are doing the opposite, according to most physicians. In a 2014 Physicians Foundation survey, 46% of physicians surveyed said EHRs were decreasing efficiencies. The data entry tasks required of physicians are causing them to see less patients and stay at work later, significantly contributing to burnout.
Healthcare Regulation Reform
To meet ACA requirements and changes requires even more documentation. Additionally, the October 1 transition to ICD-10 coding has likely already impacted workflows and efficiencies, especially across smaller, independent physician groups. If they aren’t doing this part of documentation themselves, they will have to hire skilled medical billers and coders to take on this crucial task.
Time and Profitability Concerns
Other findings from the Medscape survey found that:
- Physicians who are burned out have less savings and more bad debt
- They report being less healthy with less time to exercise
- Physicians with the highest burnout rates are critical care, emergency care, family medicine, internal medicine, and general surgery
Aside from inefficiencies associated with technology and compliance, profitability and sustainability are probably the most concerning for physicians. Not making enough money is one of the top 5 reasons for burnout, according to the survey. And when increased documentation and IT pressures threaten practice revenue, changes in the financial business of the practice must be adjusted.
How Patient Payment Solutions Can Help
Ironically, one way that many physicians are combating this added pressure is with technology—specifically with improved means of collecting payments. This is a critical move forward for practices that worry about their financial sustainability in the face of all of these threats.
It is even more necessary when the nature of the patient payment landscape is considered. Patients are paying for more of their own healthcare bills with the increase of high deductible insurance plans and out-of-pocket expenses. That puts providers at a huge risk of not collecting patient payments.
Combat this challenge with a strong, secure, sustainable patient payment solution, such as a credit card on file processing system. This will ensure that payments are collected upfront and in full, reducing bad debt and securing financial sustainability for physician practices.
Complexities are on the rise, and will likely continue to contribute to the increased rate of physician burnout. Your practice has enough to worry about with these pressures, why worry about financial burdens on top of them?
Learn about what a credit card on file payment solution can do for you and your patients. Download the introductory eBook by clicking below!