The healthcare industry has seen widespread burnout among physicians, nurses and other staff. To combat burnout, hospitals and health systems are turning to technology.
Miechia Esco, MD, PhD, is an advisory board member for LocumTenens.com, a recruiting platform for physicians, and is among the physicians who have seen the benefits of using technology to improve workflows for physicians.
Below, Dr. Esco discusses physician retention and the various technologies hospitals are adopting to reduce physician burnout.
Editor’s note: Responses have been lightly edited for clarity and length.
Question: Why is physician retention such an important issue for hospitals? Are hospitals struggling to recruit/retain physicians?
Dr. Miechia Esco: From my experience and observation, hospitals typically have a strong commitment to the community they serve. This creates a strong referral base for the hospital. Physician retention also helps ensure outcomes at a facility. Obviously, there is a problem with retention because of the shift with how physicians practice medicine. Now there is a greater need for work-life balance.
With retention, it is very important because hospitals have a consistent service line. Current medical students are more likely to stay when a hospital can provide flexible options.
Q: What technology or devices are hospitals and health systems leveraging to combat physician burnout?
ME: As we know, technology continues to evolve and emerge. Healthcare delivery is enhanced when technology is at patients’ and providers’ fingertips. Physicians are more likely to stay at health systems that have updated technology.
I have personally used HIPAA-compliant text platforms. Nurses and other clinical staff can communicate in real time without phone calls or being misinterpreted. The other is mobile patient charts that can be viewed from anywhere.
Lastly, telemedicine and telehealth have and will continue to broaden the scope of patient care.
Q: Are virtual nurses helping reduce physician burnout? Is there technology hospitals need to invest in to solve this problem?
ME: Yes, virtual nurses are helping to solve physician burnout. I’ve seen examples of how it can help with burnout by allowing physicians to have more of a work-life balance and flexibility with their schedules. Hospitals can also leverage virtual nursing to provide quality care in rural areas.
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