The amount of data in the healthcare industry is rapidly expanding. “Big Data” is a buzzword that now seems like an understatement. “Colossal Data” may be more appropriate. The U.S. healthcare system will soon be measured in zettabytes, one of which is equivalent to 1 trillion gigabytes. If distributed evenly, this would translate to around 18 completely full iPhones per U.S. citizen.
For a hospital’s financial team, there are two methods to deal with this mountain of financial information: individual reports and data analytics. The former can offer information on the broadest aspects of the hospital’s revenue stream, like days in A/R or denials, but this method lacks the strength to sift through the smaller, more targeted reports. Analytics, on the other hand, can find valuable insights from all aspects of the revenue cycle. One problem that analytics can help detect is physician burnout.
What is physician burnout?
In a healthcare environment moving more and more towards value-based reimbursement, doctors are being forced to wear many hats. The inevitable implementation of electronic health records (EHRs) in hospitals was a value-based initiative that has forced doctors to be both caregiver and clerical worker. The added stress of this dual role has led to a serious and growing problem within the national healthcare system: physician burnout. The increasing amount of clerical work for physicians has led to disillusionment with the job. Paperwork has shifted from a small but necessary evil to the majority of a physician’s daily schedule. As Greg Slabodkin of Health Data Management explains, the increase in paperwork means, “for every hour physicians spend on direct patient care, they spend two hours on EHR data entry and other administrative tasks.”
Less time spent with patients means doctors are going home unfulfilled by their work. This can have serious consequences such as depression, depersonalization, and a toxic work environment within the hospital. These personnel issues manifest themselves writ large in lower patient satisfaction, greater risk of physician error, and decreased revenue as doctors fail to enter information correctly into their dreaded EMRs. Physician burnout may seem sensationalized, but it is very common. In fact, a 2016 study by the Mayo Clinic found that a staggering 54% of physicians were experiencing at least one symptom of burnout.
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