If you work at or manage a private healthcare practice, and feel like you barely made it through 2020, you’re not alone. The year was incredibly challenging for everyone, but particularly for healthcare workers. The burden on private practices has been extraordinary.
While burnout is nothing new for healthcare workers, the pandemic has escalated the issue with a wide variety of new stressors and hurdles to overcome. While hospital workers and frontline care teams have dealt with the sickest COVID-19 patients, private practices have had their share of challenges, too.
In 2020, many practices faced massive losses in patient volume and revenue. Some are still not back to pre-pandemic levels of business today. On the administrative side, rescheduling missed appointments to close the gap in lost revenue has been an ongoing need. Adjusting to deliver care via telehealth, and getting patients accustomed to the experience, has required significant adjustments, from scheduling to communication to technology implementation. Practice staff have had to learn the ropes of billing and coding for telehealth, information about COVID-19 testing, and what it takes to keep colleagues and patients safe during in-person visits.
Practice managers have taken on immense responsibility. Medical and dental offices have had to completely modify workflows and processes, redesign (and even redefine) waiting rooms, establish new employee and workplace policies, and implement health screenings for both patients and staff.
Frequent cleaning and disinfecting has required adjustments to schedules and routines. Securing the proper personal protective equipment (PPE) and supplies hasn’t been easy.
To put it mildly, this is a lot to simply keep your practice running. It’s understandable if more focused communication outreach has been overlooked.
But distributing regular, thoughtful communication to both staff and patients is a component of practice management that should be on every practice’s priority list since COVID-19 hit. As we’ve detailed in previous posts, the provider-patient connection is more important now than ever, especially with the level of trust patients place on their local healthcare providers.
An already-long list of practice management needs and tasks is now more expansive. With recent research indicating the risk of staff burnout is directly correlated to a provider’s workload, it’s no wonder burnout is a growing issue.
If your practice is feeling a year’s worth of COVID-19 stress, we recommend implementing a few proven strategies to address your team’s imminent burnout. Give these five tips a try:
This has been a focus of workplace research for the better part of the last 10 years, with many results showing the power of regular recognition. Ideas can include an impromptu staff lunch delivery, a ‘kudos’ board to thank standout staff and peers, and weekly email “shout-outs” — all of which require very little investment.
Remember that an exceptional staff is one of the most valued assets a private practice can have. Each person plays a key role in patient satisfaction and, therefore, your practice’s reputation. Helping your team through difficult times will position your practice for continued success and growth, as we come out on the other side of the pandemic.
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Top tips to manage your practice during another pandemic peak
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