Ways to Reduce and Prevent Physician Burnout
Our nation’s physcians face many different stressors and challenges that come along with the job. It’s imperitive that you, as a physician, keep yourself from burning out, because once you do, your work suffers, and ultimately, so do the patients that you have sworn to treat and protect. The Happy MD refers to “burnout” as an overdrawn bank account, which is probably the best way to put it; you’re taking away from physical, mental, and emotional accounts that are already empty. Work takes a toll on everyone’s reserves, but when your reach the point where you’re trying to convince yourself that feeling exhausted and cynical towards your job is something all doctors feel all the time, then consider that your big red flag. After that, you’ll reach the point where you feel like you’re barely hanging on, and that the tether that holds you to the job you’re dreading going to every morning is about to snap and send you wheeling through a black hole, and that’s when you’ve gone too far; you’ve reached the burnout zone. At this point, you don’t care as much as you’d like to, or should, and you’re probably far more bitter than you thought possible. Luckily, there are “cures” — or more like coping mechanisms — for this dreaded burnout, but note that these should be applied to your life consistantly, even if you’re not feeling those symptoms.
Cure #1: Be aware. It might take some practice, but once you realize that the stressors you’re experienceing are about to create negative emotions about your job, grab ahold of them, and practice techniques that can help you protect yourself and work through those emotions on the spot. Think of this as a defense — a shield.
Cure #2: Self care. The reason you get burnt out is because your mental, physical, and emotional accounts are empty, and you’re trying to use more of something that needs a rest. There are a lot of things that can fall under this category, and it all really just depends on what you feel needs to be cared for the most in that moment. Do you need more sleep? Get it. Do you need a night to yourself, or with a loved one? Do it. Don’t be afraid to give your body, mind, and soul what it wants. Remember that boundaries are part of keeping yourself sane.
Cure #3: Change. If you find yourself unable to help yourself with Cures 1 or 2, then remove yourself from the stressor. Reduce your hours, change the way you work, find a different position or job using the same skills, but with less stress.
There is absolutely no problem with getting help for burnout, especially in the medical field, where someone’s quality of life could depend on you and your decisions. Your team will understand, because they can’t afford a burn out doctor, either. Take care of yourself first, so you can take care of others.
Why Online Portals for Your Patients Are So Important
Doctor visits and follow ups have come a long way in a short amount of time; the invention of and the increased accessibility to the internet has created a whole new world for medical professionals and their staff. Just a short fifteen years ago, we would have to wait for a call from the office to learn what a simple blood test result was, or have to make phone calls ourselves to make a follow up appointment. While there is no harm in phone calls, the patient portal has made things eaiser for a lot of people, and is now an important part of healthcare. Here’s why:
It’s convenient. A lot of people today don’t like making phone calls, or don’t have the time to do so, and the portal has completely eliminated the need to dial a phone. Anyone with an internet or data connection has the ability to access their portal for a various amount of things. This also gives people with some handicaps, disabilities, or mental illnesses a better sense of independence, as they don’t have to go through someone else to make an appointment. Many portals give you the ability to schedule yourself an appointment with a few clicks, or just send a message to your doctor if you have a question.
Everything is right there. There was a time when you had to wait until your next appointment — or a phone call — to know the results of a test, but with the portal, you have access to the results the scond they’re logged into the system. It won’t just be the “important” bits that the doctor tells you, it’s the whole test and even the graphs. Not only do you have the ability to see the results of your tests, but you have access to all of your medical records without having to dig through a collection of papers. So long as everything has been uploaded by your doctor, it should all be in one spot for you to pull up at any given moment. Most doctors will even allow multiple members of a family to be on one account, so you could look at the same history, results, and visit summaries for your child, parent, or partner.
You have access to all of the practice’s doctors. Most patient portals will have a list of doctors with different areas of study, and oftentimes, when your doctor makes a referal, it goes through that portal and instantly contacts the referred doctor. There is also a list of which insurances will cover what you need done.
The patient portal has given people the ability to climb out of the backseat, and into the front passenger one; they get to help navigate their own healthcare, and nothing is ever left out. This brings the patients and doctors closer together, for an all-around better experience, and better quality of life for everyone.
Visit Practice Management at the 2019 FACHC Annual Conference
The 2019 FACHC Annual Conference kicks off later this month, July 21st – 24th, 2019. The conference takes place at the beautiful Marriott Harbor Beach in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Hosted by the Florida Association of Community Health Centers, the annual conference aims to bring together key partners within the healthcare industry and provide updates in education and modern trends to improve access and quality of care for patients seeking health services. We are happy to announce that we will be tabling at booth #305 – if you will be in attendance, feel free to stop by during exhibiting sessions.
The overall agenda includes an exhibit hall, roundtable discussions, open panel discussions, networking opportunities and immersive sessions. The first night offers the chance for attendees to settle in and mingle with a reception in the ballroom foyer – then the activities launch the following morning at 8am with breakfast and an open-to-explore exhibit hall. Throughout the conference, the sessions will be taking place amidst the activities – and definitely shouldn’t be missed.
One session includes a discussion from CEOs who took a hit from category 5 Hurricane Michael and how they prepared for the disaster – as well as recovered in the aftermath. Another session covers your questions regarding PBMs, including its context within the healthcare industry and how they impact FHQCs. Additional sessions cover embracing telemedicine, avoiding pitfalls in administration, laws in human resources, the new OSV manual and much more.
Packed with important information and inspiring ideas, this conference should be marked on your “must-attend” list – as the combination of fantastic educational segments and networking opportunities will surely benefit any individual within the FQHC industry.
If you will be attending the 2019 FACHC Annual Conference, make sure to stop by Practice Management’s booth #305.
Why a Patient-Centric Approach is Imperative for Your Practice
It’s something that is pretty common knowledge for many healthcare providers: the only one who knows exactly what the patient is feeling or experiencing is the patient. They are just relaying the information to you in hopes that you can help and/or treat them. However, there are different approaches that medical practitioners take, and some aren’t always patient-focused. That is why it’s important to do your research and figure out which practices are patient-centric. What does that mean? Well, for the patient, it means that their voices are heard.
So, why is a patient-centric approach so important?
The patient gets it all. Or, in other words, the patient and the practitioner form a partnership that will benefit the both of them by making the best decision healthcare-wise as a team. This may mean that there is proper and extensive education given to the patient about a condition or a procedure, or even a tightly-knit support system built up of community and staff members. The patient learns a lot along the way about their own health and how to better their healthcare, which may even ultimately lead to less doctor visits in the future! The more they know, the better they will care for themselves and lead a better quality of life. It might even boost the patient’s moral outside of the office, as the open discussion tactic teaches them to express themselves clearly and fight for what they deserve.
For the practitioner and the staff, working alongside your patient is actually cheaper in the long run. You aren’t doing a long list of tests to determine what the next step is, you’re just having a conversation with your patient. This means better, more accurate decisions regarding the patient’s healthcare. Putting these patients’ needs and listening to their complaints and desires not only helps you grow as a medical professional, but also gives you a competitive advantage; this is what the people want. They want to be heard, to be part of their own healthcare process because it’s their healthcare for their bodies. Your patients will be so happy, they’ll throw out referrals like it’s rice on a wedding day. Their satisfaction will skyrocket, and so will yours, as their doctor or nurse.
Healthcare isn’t just about treating people, it’s about hearing their cries for help and listening to their stories so you can understand and work with them, to create a super-treatment that will keep them healthier, happier, and wiser. At the core, isn’t that what you initially went to medical school for?