How A Medical Transcription Service Can Reduce The Effects Of Burnout In Specialty Practices
Something that doesn’t receive enough attention in the healthcare industry is physician burnout. Many people attribute feelings of burnout to that of day-to-day stress—but it’s so much more than that.
When left untreated, burnout may result in feelings of depression or even suicide, especially in the healthcare industry. In fact, feelings of burnout are most common among physicians in comparison to all other U.S. workers.
In this blog, we dive deeper into the effects of physician burnout in specialty medical practices by discussing:
- What physician burnout is.
- The results of Medscape’s National Physician Burnout, Depression & Suicide Report 2019.
- How outsourcing your medical transcriptions can alleviate the effects of physician burnout.
What is physician burnout?
Unlike everyday stress, physician burnout is the result of excessive stress classified as a cycle of negative emotions, paralysis and withdrawal. It is the mental, emotional, often physical exhaustion that eventually leads to total disengagement.
Symptoms of burnout are physical and emotional exhaustion, feelings of depersonalization and a reduced sense of personal accomplishment.
Now we have a shared understanding of what physician burnout is. Next, let’s further discuss its implications on specialty practices. Below, we discuss statistics surrounding the causes of burnout and the specialty practices that are most influenced.
Physician Burnout Statistics By Specialty
In the 2019 study conducted by Medscape, over 15,000 physicians in more than 29 specialties were surveyed. Here are some of the most notable results:
- 44% of physicians reported feelings of burnout, while 15% reported colloquial or clinical depression.
- The top five specialties to report burnout are Urology (54%), Neurology (53%), Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (52%), Internal Medicine (49%), and Emergency Medicine (48%).
- Female physicians reported higher levels of burnout over male physicians.
- 59% of physicians said that “too many bureaucratic tasks” contributed to their burnout while 34% cited “spending too many hours at work” as the cause of their burnout. Additionally, 32% cited “increasing computerization of practice (EHRs)” as the root of burnout.
- 48% of physicians cope with burnout through exercise, 43% cope by talking with family or friends, and 41% isolate themselves from others.
While these are only small pieces of a much larger study, these statistics shed light on the feelings of burnout physicians face every day. Let’s take a moment to discuss each of the above points. That way, we can ensure a full understanding of the severity of these statistics.
Burnout vs. Depression
While 15 percent may not sound like a substantial amount, that equates to 2,250 physicians who either experience colloquial or clinical depression. Additionally, 6,600 specialty physicians reported feelings of burnout.
These numbers are startling, and shouldn’t be taken lightly. Appreciating the mental health of physicians and medical staff should always be respected. We as members of the healthcare industry should be doing whatever we can to reduce these statistics.
Highest Reported Specialties
Urology is the highest reporting specialty practice for feelings of physician burnout. Coincidentally, 76 percent of Urologists shared that they were most likely to work long hours. This supports the 34 percent of physicians who cited “too many hours spent at work” for the cause of their burnout.
Oftentimes, this additional time spent at work is due to excessive amounts of paperwork and bureaucratic tasks, more of which we will get into below.
Women vs. Men
50 percent of those who reported feelings of burnout were women, while 39 percent were men. Additionally, women were more likely to cope with their burnout by talking with a close family member or friend. While men, on the other hand, cope through exercise.
Tasks Associated With Burnout
Too many bureaucratic tasks, too much time spent at work and increased computerization were the top three causes associated with physician burnout. These issues are not specific to specialty practices either.
Excessive amounts of paperwork cause physicians to stay longer at work, further implicating their work-life balance. Furthermore, “paperwork” is almost always digitized, which explains the feelings of frustration surrounding increased computerization. Each of these issues goes hand in hand, and it’s a vicious cycle that many physicians get trapped in.
Methods of Coping
Since we already touched on two methods of coping, we want to focus on the 41 percent of physicians who resort to isolation in order to handle their feelings of burnout. Out of the 41 percent, 42 percent of women and 41 percent of men reported isolation.
This is why it’s so important for physicians and medical staff to feel supported not only by their coworkers, but also by the healthcare industry. By raising awareness, our hope is that physicians will understand their feelings of burnout matter, and they shouldn’t have to cope alone.
Here at DataMatrix Medical, we care about not only spreading awareness of the issues surrounding physician burnout, but doing what we can to reduce it. When we developed our medical transcription solutions, we did so with your practice and its physicians in mind. Our goal is to make your day-to-day lives easier by eliminating the tasks that commonly contribute to feelings of burnout. This allows your physicians to focus on the things that truly make a difference.
How Our Medical Transcription Service Can Make A Difference For Your Physicians
When you use our medical transcription service, your physicians will be able to capitalize on these key benefits:
More time with their patients
By outsourcing your medical transcriptions, your physicians won’t be stuck behind their computers entering and editing patient information. Instead, they can submit handwritten notes or dictations, or use our app. This allows physicians to spend more face-to-face time with their patients, without the worry of tedious note-taking or EHR work—regardless of their specialty.
Less time-consuming tasks to complete
One of the greatest contributors to burnout is daily bureaucratic tasks such as paperwork or other time-consuming administrative work. Our transcription service can significantly reduce, if not eliminate, these kinds of tasks. This will not only allow your physicians more time in the day, but help alleviate the daily tasks they dread completing.
Easier use of your EHR
We understand EHR difficulties can cause extra frustration for physicians, potentially leading to high levels of burnout. We can ease these stresses by seamlessly integrating into your EHR. This allows us direct access and the ability to customize your EHR to meet the specific needs of your specialty practice.
These are just a few of the various ways our solutions can benefit your physicians. Physician burnout is becoming all too common in the healthcare industry, and specialty practices are no exception. It is our hope that our medical transcription service can help protect your physicians from the pain points that cause extreme burnout, while helping your practice experience the growth it deserves.
To learn more about reducing the effects of physician burnout at your practice, take a look at our free guide, Successful Strategies To Mitigate Burnout At Your Practice, below. Then contact us to learn about our free two-week medical transcription trial to discover for yourself the difference our solutions can make in the lives of your physicians.
Nathaniel Smathers, is contributor to the DataMatrix Medical blog with a background in healthcare content creation for over a decade. Nathaniel has a passion for exploring the intersections of healthcare, data analysis, and digital innovation.