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Why doctors are stressed — and how to lessen stress at your practice

Physician burnout does not have to be your reality. See these common triggers of doctor stress and how to effectively address them.

stress and physician burnout

If work is causing you stress, you’re not alone. Nearly half (44 percent) of doctors are burned out, according to the 2019 Medscape National Physician Burnout, Depression & Suicide Report.

You dedicated many years of your life to medical school, so work should be enjoyable, not something that leaves you in a constant state of anxiety. National Stress Awareness Day is April 16. To mark the occasion, here’s a look at why doctors are stressed and tips to prevent burnout.

Common reasons why doctors are stressed

1. Too many bureaucratic tasks

Running a successful practice is hard work. Most doctors (59 percent) claim too many bureaucratic tasks like charting and paperwork is the leading contributor to their burnout, according to Medscape.

You became a doctor to help others, not to push papers around a desk. If you’re spending a considerable amount of time on administrative tasks, a lack of fulfillment is probably causing you to realize physician burnout.

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2. Long hours at work

You’re passionate about your job, but even the most dedicated professionals need time away from work to relax and recharge. More than one-third (34 percent) of doctors claim spending too many hours at work contributes most to their burnout, according to Medscape.

A different Medscape report revealed more than half (56 percent) of doctors see patients 30 to 45 hours per week and 70 percent spend 10 to 20 or more hours per week on paperwork and administration. When added together, this can equate to some seriously long hours.

3. Issues with health information technology

EHRs are supposed to make your job easier, so it’s frustrating when the opposite occurs. In fact, most (70 percent) of burned out physicians utilizing EHRs report healthcare information technology-related stress, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association.

If you’re having trouble using your EHR or the software doesn’t have the functionality needed, it’s no wonder you’re stressed. These tools are supposed to help you do your job more efficiently, instead of causing you headaches.

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Reduce stress and prevent physician burnout at your practice

1. Hire a medical scribe

Eliminate some of your heavy workload by hiring a medical scribe. This person will join you in patient appointments and take notes, so you can focus solely on care.

Your medical scribe can also assist with a variety of administrative tasks, such as updating EHRs, coordinating referrals, and obtaining medical records from other practices. This can be an effective way to battle physician burnout because you’ll get to spend more time on work you truly enjoy. 

Discover: How many office staff does my healthcare practice need?

2. Automate office tasks

Running a successful practice requires a lot of work behind the scenes. You probably have administrative staff to handle many of these tasks, but they can’t do it all, so you have to help with the overflow.

Give your staff more time in their day by automating job duties that don’t require face-to-face interaction. For example, taking your patient booking system online and sending automated appointment confirmations can save hours on a daily basis.

When these tasks are off their plates, your staff will have the capacity to take on some — or all — of the administrative responsibilities you were handling. Consequently, you’ll be able to increase the amount of time you spend with patients while reducing your work hours.

Check out: How to automate appointment reminders and routine practice tasks

3. Integrate your EMR

Your EMR should make your life easier, so enhance it with a software platform that supports the needs of your practice. Integrated EMRs can serve a variety of purposes, including allowing patients to see your real-time availability online and receive appointment reminders, automatically syncing appointments booked anywhere in your calendar, and sending post-appointment patient review requests.

This will allow your practice to increase bookings, be more efficient and productive, and gain a better reputation in the patient community. Eliminate your physician burnout, while taking your practice to the next level. 

Podcast: Understanding PatientPop integration

If you’re tired of being weighed down by stress, partner with PatientPop. Our practice growth solution has helped thousands of doctors, dentists, and other medical providers throughout the U.S. make their practices more efficient.

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