Recruiting physicians, addressing medical burnout

Novant has been looking for ways to reduce messages and automate where possible.
Novant has been looking for ways to reduce messages and automate where possible.
Published: Jul. 5, 2023 at 10:40 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - If you’re looking for a definition burnout is described as “a loss of enthusiasm for work, feelings of cynicism and a low sense of personal accomplishment.”

It’s on the rise in a lot professions. Ones we all rely on law enforcement, teaching, and medicine. The American Medical Association calls it an epidemic.

63% of doctors report signs of burnout.

Doctors get into this right, to treat patients to make them feel better, right.


And that’s what they want to get back to?

“Yes. 100%. And there’s some barriers to that still, there are, you know, again, I think the the change in workflow has made that be a barrier, the, the regulation has been a barrier. Solving for that is, is really the challenge that all healthcare systems are facing. And so it’s finding innovative solutions,” said Dr. Navin Bhojwani, SVP of Novant Health Physician work.

Last week we aired part of our interview with Doctor Navin Bhojwani. He’s heading up the effort at Novant Health to retain and hire doctors who are feeling this burnout. He described what they’re seeing.

Now, it’d be easy to blame it all on Covid -- but as you heard him say it’s more than that. It’s workflow, it’s regulation, it’s technology. A lot of it created by the move to electronic record keeping.

Let me ask you about that. Because I think people think, yeah, technology that is going to streamline things, it’s going to make things quicker, was it creating more work for doctors in some cases,

“Absolutely. So the record, while it’s great in terms of bringing records together, keeping, and even capturing records from different places, and putting them all in one place, making them accessible, whenever you’re seeing a patient, wherever you’re seeing them. There’s also a regulatory piece that has really increased over the last several years that make that more burdensome there, there’s generally just more fatigue with the different alerts that pop up in a record like that.”

Think about it the last time you were at the doctor’s office. The doctor probably spent as much time typing into a computer than examining you. And it’s a stress creator. In a survey done by Medscape the question was asked ‘what contributes most to your burnout?’

59 percent said too many bureaucratic tasks a lot of them carried out on a computer.

Give you an example a doctor with the American Medical Association wanted to know how many clicks of a mouse does it take to order and record a flu shot.

The answer 32. One patient -- one flu shot. It’s been estimated one emergency department doctor will click away 4-thousand times in one shift. It’s not hard but it’s a time suck. It’s been found doctors spend two hours on paper and desk work for every one hour devoted to patient care.

When I see patients. I always have time, couple hours for before my day starts where I’m going through all my charts looking at the patients that are scheduled to see me that day, thinking about the last time I saw them, what were their active issues? What were the things that I need to see? Did they do their health maintenance? Did they update their mammogram? Did they update their colonoscopy did they update all these things, making sure I can track everything down. And then after they leave, closing out the time that I spent with them, making sure I captured all the details, ordered all the things that we talked about, enter the referrals.”

“One of the things that was really lost that I think drove some of the burnout issues is the lack of interaction. So you and I are having a great conversation right? Now I can look you in the eye, and have a meaningful interaction and understand what’s on your mind. If we leverage the virtual scribe correctly, it is putting that scribe in the room, that natural language processing picks up the conversation is able to transcribe it into a really complete concise note. And I can go back to having that interaction with you that’s satisfying for both of us.”

Some doctors say it’s saving them 6 to 8 hours a week.

And as for workflow, Novant has been looking for ways to reduce messages and automate where possible.

“And so I will tell you, the efforts of that optimization team have led to a reduction in 36 million clicks this year. So think about that. Just yeah, digest that. And that’s actually 36,000 hours of work, potentially saved on the team just on a mouse or on a keyboard.

And our teams have been laser focused on saying, Alright, how do we cut down on the number of messages, making sure the messages get to the right place? The right teams are involved? How do we automate refills? How do we do all of these things that can really let everyone work top of license, and get back to providing care that they need to provide.”

Doctor Bhojwani says the efforts are helping. They have been able to add staff. Physician and clinician numbers have grown by more than 20% over the last five years. A time when many others have seen workforces shrink.