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Investing in Your Medical Practice to Reduce Burnout and Increase "Return on Life"  

Posted by R.F. (Ben) Stewart III, JD, LLM | Jun 05, 2024 | 0 Comments

Medscape's 2024 Physician Burnout & Depression Report found that 49% of physicians are experiencing burnout. While that figure marks a decline from 2023, most respondents said they have been experiencing burnout for at least 13 months. 42% reported feeling burned out for more than two years.

 Much like there's rarely a magic pill that can fix patients all by itself, there's no one change that will put a doctor's work and life back into balance. But if burnout is also preventing you from exploring how AI and other technologies are improving health care, you might be missing out on some simple, effective upgrades to your Return on Life. Set aside some time to explore the latest tech in these three key areas.

 1. Patient intake.

 Are you still handing patients a clipboard full of paper to fill out while they're sitting in your waiting room? How much time do you administrators spend digitizing that data every week? What else could those folks be doing that would take some remedial tasks off of your desk? How much more time could they devote to better face-to-face patient service?

 Moving intake forms and appointment questionnaires to your practice's or network's website will eliminate busy work for your staff and your patients. Patients will be able to input their data quickly and accurately, with nothing lost in the translation from handwriting to your records. That could result in shorter waiting times and less wasted exam room time pestering patients with questions they've answered in previous visits. Use a mobile platform and you'll be able to connect intake to your patients' scheduling and payment apps, further streamlining your operations.

 2. Answering routine questions.

 Before the pandemic, many folks didn't realize that they could message doctors and nurses with questions about their health care or access their medical records remotely. Since 2020, the number of electronic messages from patients to providers has spiked 157% above prepandemic averages. Many of these messages require a professional human response.

 But many of them don't. You, your nurses, and your support staff don't need to spend all day answering questions about scheduling, payments, and insurance coverage -- an AI chatbot can handle these kinds of basic tasks. A bot could also collect symptom data that a nurse needs to decide if a patient should see a doctor.

 Or you could upgrade your messaging system with some human expertise. Penn Family Care in Philadelphia recently started rerouting its messages away from doctors and into pools of certified medical assistants. Guided by clear protocols, assistants can now manage 92% of incoming messages, freeing doctors to focus on high-priority queries from patients who need them the most.

 3. Follow up.

 How much better would your patients' outcomes be if you had the time to remind them to take their medicine, exercise, and schedule their next appointments? AI has all the time in the world to handle follow-up tasks that will help folks stay on track with their health care plans. And in between visits, you could ask AI to analyze years of patient data to check for early warning signs or refine treatment plans.

 Investing in your practice could make your workday more manageable. But high achievers, like doctors, tend to fill blank spaces in their schedules with even more work. Banishing burnout for good requires using the resources at your disposal in an intentional way so that you get more from your money than just more money.

 Make an appointment and let's revisit your ROL Index assessment to see which areas of your life could use a little more attention. We could also review your $Lifeline and discuss how you're feeling about upcoming work, life, and money goals.

About the Author

R.F. (Ben) Stewart III, JD, LLM

Ben began practicing law in 1985 after receiving a Masters of Law in Taxation from the University of Florida Levin College of Law....

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