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Staff healthAddressing Staff Burnout in Healthcare: Essential SolutionsThe healthcare profession has long been regarded as one of the most demanding and stressful fields to work in. While the dedication of healthcare professionals is commendable, it comes at a cost—staff burnout. In this blog, we explore the primary factors contributing to burnout among healthcare professionals and discuss how it directly affects the quality of patient care and safety. We also offer four actionable solutions to address staff burnout in healthcare. This includes: Invest in knowledge management systemsInvolve healthcare professionalsImproved work-life balanceStreamlined administrative processes Meet the Expert Ido Zamberg M.D. is a board-certified physician (General Internal Medicine and Anesthesia), currently a Fellow at the Division of Experimental Medicine, McGill University Health Center, Montreal, Canada. How Prevalent is Staff Burnout in Healthcare? Staff burnout has always been a concern in healthcare, but its impact has been amplified by the arrival and aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic. Before the pandemic, research shows that "one in three physicians is experiencing burnout at any given time." However, a 2023 study reveals that: 50% of all the study participants experienced burnout.Nurses were the hardest hit with 56% experiencing burnout.Other clinical staff (excluding physicians and nurses) were right on their heels with 54.1% experiencing burnout. This high level of burnout has various consequences, but possibly the most alarming one is more healthcare professionals are considering leaving their jobs. The same 2023 study breaks the "intent to leave the job" down like this: Nurses: 41%Non-clinical staff: 32.6% Other clinical (excluding physicians and nurses) staff: 31.1% These statistics underscore the heightened prevalence of staff burnout in healthcare and that the industry needs effective solutions to address it. But what contributes to burnout in the first place? 3 Factors Contributing to Burnout Among Healthcare Professionals 1. Lack of Control Over Daily Schedule and Workload One of the major contributors to burnout in healthcare is the lack of control over one's daily schedule. The healthcare system often prioritizes seeing as many patients as possible, leaving little room for personal time or flexibility. Consequently, this sentiment goes hand-in-hand with work overload. Overall, a heavy workload can double, or in some cases almost triple, healthcare professionals' risk of burning out. Burnout is not only about long hours. It’s about the fundamental disconnect between health workers and the mission to serve that motivates them. — Vivek H. Murthy, M.D., M.B.A. This means trying to balance their personal and work lives, fulfilling multiple roles, managing increasing patient demands, and working around staff shortages. Being exposed to high workloads for too long can lead to chronic burnout, which may result in healthcare professionals leaving the profession altogether. In turn, high turnover rates can further exacerbate staffing shortages. 2. Administrative Burden 'Administrative burden' is two-fold. Firstly, physicians spend a significant amount of time on daily administrative tasks like paperwork, phone calls, and electronic medical record (EMR) documentation. This administrative load is often a main complaint from medicine practitioners. It takes away precious moments that could be spent with patients, leading to frustration and burnout. Secondly, healthcare providers also grapple with accessing vetted best practices. This includes: Spending considerable time searching for clinical guidance and the latest evidence-based approaches to patient care. Keeping knowledge bases up to date. These can be scattered between different departments and systems, requiring manual effort to update them all. These cumulative demands contribute to burnout and demonstrate the pressing need for more efficient administrative processes and support systems within healthcare. 3. Challenging Training Processes The training process in healthcare can be ambiguous and mentally taxing. New challenges arise daily, and the path to competence isn't always clear. Challenges include: Constantly keeping up with new knowledge and developments.Trainees don't always have access to mentors.Finding it difficult to balance workloads and time between training, clinical duties, and personal life.Training programs are different between institutions and specialties, indicating a lack of standardization. This relentless pursuit of medical education, coupled with the high-stakes nature of healthcare professionals' responsibilities, can lead to emotional fatigue, especially if you're in the early stages of your career. The Impact of Staff Burnout on Patient Care and Safety Staff burnout in healthcare doesn't just affect the professionals themselves. It has a direct impact on the quality of patient care and safety. Reduced Training and Mentorship Healthcare professionals often take on multiple roles where the primary focus revolves around patient and clinical care. Subsequently, they may not have time to dedicate to other responsibilities, including training junior physicians. This may hurt hospitals, and patient care, in the long term as future physicians will have less experience and exposure and might not invest in training peers themselves, creating a vicious cycle. Decreased Performance Fatigue and burnout can significantly impact a healthcare professional's performance. A survey found that 46% of junior doctors admit to making "fatigue-induced clinical errors." This means patients seen later in the day or by exhausted physicians may not receive the same level of care as those seen during the physician's peak hours. Minimal Time and Attention When healthcare professionals are overwhelmed, they may resort to doing the minimum required to get through the day, compromising patient care. This can lead to rushed decisions and errors that put patient safety at risk and result in negative outcomes. This is especially applicable to nurses—who have close, daily contact with patients—to the extent that up to 50% of patient safety incidents are because of limited nursing care. 4 Solutions to Address Staff Burnout in Healthcare 1. Invest in Knowledge Management Systems Effective knowledge management systems can play a crucial role in reducing burnout. Healthcare organizations should invest in robust systems that facilitate the efficient sharing and retrieval of medical knowledge and best practices. These systems can help healthcare professionals stay updated and make informed decisions, reducing the burden of searching for locally vetted clinical guidance relevant to their point of care. Make Your Knowledge Easily Accessible C8 Health’s platform empowers residents and staff to take control of their training through quick and continuous access to their institution’s best practices. Here's how Dr. Daniel Katz (Vice Chair of Education, Department of Anesthesia, Mount Sinai) uses C8: 2. Involve Healthcare Professionals To make sure burnout solutions are effective, it's essential to involve healthcare professionals themselves in the development process. Physicians, nurses, and other staff should actively participate in the design and implementation of technological solutions. Their insights and feedback can help create tools that align with their specific needs and workflows, increasing the likelihood of successful adoption. 3. Improved Work-Life Balance Healthcare institutions must prioritize work-life balance for their staff. This includes implementing flexible scheduling, providing opportunities for breaks, and allowing for occasional sick days without jeopardizing patient care. Having backup systems or pools of available personnel can help alleviate the burden on individual professionals. » Explore other ways to improve staff wellness 4. Streamlined Administrative Processes It's crucial to embrace innovative technological tools that can automate manual workflows. These tools aren't limited to knowledge management but also extend to the documentation and overall patient care processes. By introducing these solutions, healthcare organizations can significantly enhance efficiency, reduce paperwork, and streamline administrative tasks. This transformation allows healthcare professionals to dedicate more time to direct patient care while simultaneously alleviating the administrative burden. » Streamline your institution's admin with this easy-to-use solution Making Healthcare Sustainable Staff burnout is a pressing issue in healthcare that not only affects the well-being of professionals but also compromises the quality of patient care and safety. By implementing these and other solutions, we can take significant steps towards addressing burnout and creating a healthier, more sustainable healthcare system for both patients and practitioners. C8 Health strives to help healthcare practitioners achieve this goal by making best practices easily accessible to healthcare workers, thus mitigating the administrative burden of this line of work.
Staff healthStaff Wellness: Ways to Keep Your Staff Healthy and ProductiveIn many ways, the healthcare industry mirrors others when it comes to the relationship between staff wellness and productivity. When individuals are well, their motivation and performance naturally improve. However, what sets the healthcare industry apart is that the concept of wellness is relatively new to the field. Its significance was particularly highlighted in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, which brought significant burnout and a workforce exodus in the healthcare profession. While it's evident that professionals perform better when well, medicine has been slow to integrate wellness into its DNA. Only recently has there been a growing awareness of the importance of wellness for hospital staff, recognizing that it can enhance productivity. Meet the Expert Ido Zamberg M.D. is a board-certified physician (General Internal Medicine and Anesthesia), currently a Fellow at the Division of Experimental Medicine, McGill University Health Center, Montreal, Canada Recognizing the Problem For hospitals—or any organization—it's crucial to first acknowledge the problem. Professionals need a work-life balance. In academic centers, the expectation is to be a full-time clinician, researcher, and educator simultaneously. It's a lot to manage without adequate protected time, and many senior physicians depart due to the lack of work-life balance. Moreover, in healthcare roles involving shifts, nights, and weekends, there's often no clear beginning or end to a workday. The work is ongoing, and there's always something more to learn and do. This constant challenge, combined with a system that doesn't prioritize wellness, makes it difficult for healthcare professionals to thrive. In recognizing the main issue, it's clear that the industry needs to ensure appropriate working conditions. Being a clinician is more than a calling that requires sacrificing one's personal life. Ultimately, when professionals are content and fulfilled, they perform better, leading to improved patient outcomes. Creating a Supportive Work Environment The Challenge How can healthcare facilities create a work environment that supports work-life balance? Like any industry, technology has the potential to revolutionize processes and workflows. Historically, in medicine, there has been a heavy reliance on manual methods, often resorting to pen and paper. The introduction of technology can automate many of these tasks and streamline operations. However, what we've observed in the healthcare industry is that, while technology has been introduced, much of it hasn't been designed with clinicians in mind. Many apps, platforms, and innovations are primarily patient-focused rather than provider-centric. There's a notable lack of technological solutions aimed specifically at health professionals. The Solution Our platform is designed with a clear purpose: to improve the lives of clinicians. It's tailored for all health professionals, with the entire design and implementation process steered by providers themselves. This means: You have easy access to all relevant information, including administrative, clinical, and practical knowledge.It's simple to update any information and send notifications to all users. Plus, the platform will let you know if it's time to review any data.Information is available in mobile-friendly content formats so it's easy to work with.Advanced analytics lets you measure content consumption so you can remove any gaps in knowledge dissemination. Dr. Daniel Katz (Vice Chair of Education, Department of Anesthesia, Mount Sinai) shares his experience of C8 Health's platform: Challenges in Accessing and Applying Medical Protocols: A Short Case Study To illustrate the challenges we face, let's look at an example. I once treated a patient with a unique condition, but the treatment was simple: plasma exchange. This treatment isn't an everyday procedure and involves a machine unfamiliar to many. We were aware that a protocol existed, but this was before the era of digitalized protocols, and we had no clue where to find it. After searching for five hours, I finally found the protocol—on a paper from 2002. This scenario highlights several issues: Without a digitized system, it's challenging to locate specific protocols. Even when you find them, there's the matter of their validity. Can you trust a protocol from 2002? Is it updated? Is it still relevant? In this case, we were dealing with a patient with a severe condition. Even after finding the protocol, the practical challenge remained: nobody knew how to execute the procedure. While there was a guideline for this, if you can't access it promptly, you're left stranded. "Imagine being in a top-tier university hospital surrounded by world experts, yet no one knows how to push a specific button. Despite all the technological advancements and expertise, sometimes it boils down to someone knowing which button to press." In medicine, you can't afford to take risks because the potential for harm is significant. You need clarity and guidance. While the situation I described was extreme, we encounter similar challenges on a day-to-day basis. It's about knowing which "button" to push, and when you don't, it's not only frustrating but also makes you feel like you're failing the patient. A Digital Solution The connection between staff wellness and productivity in healthcare is undeniable. It's a complex issue that requires recognition, support, and the right tools. The experiences shared here shed light on the challenges faced in the healthcare industry and how technology when designed with clinicians in mind, can play a pivotal role in improving staff wellness and ultimately enhancing patient care. This is why C8 Health was created: to bridge the knowledge gap in healthcare and make best practices available to healthcare workers everywhere. Our user-friendly platform makes it easy for healthcare professionals to access the knowledge they need, when they need it, saving valuable time.