Digital Patient Engagement Offers Burnout Relief

By Gary Hamilton, CEO, InteliChart
Twitter: @InteliChart

The mass resignation of health care workers has left providers searching for answers. Employment in the industry is down by nearly 300,000 since February of 2020. This is not for lack of effort in maintaining the course; these are workers who often feel burdened to the point their only option is to exit and find employment in another field. Excessive workloads deluged with streams of data and monotonous administrative tasks pile up quickly and take a toll. Unfortunately, the enormity of these burdens drains time and resources, robbing health care workers of spending time with patients.

For many industries, the pandemic proved an inadvertent catalyst for accelerating tech innovation, change, and efficiency, especially in health care. An industry that was historically hesitant to evolve, health care is trending towards the innovative, modern, and forward-thinking.

The pandemic was indeed the determining factor. It exacerbated health care issues to the tipping point, and we are witnessing the fallout. Workers are flooding en masse out of the industry in search of employment with less stress and burden. The World Health Organization, WHO, even designated 2021 as the “Year of Health and Care Workers” to celebrate their heavy and profound service performed during a monumental crisis, reflecting the need to keep health care-related labor in full force and at the ready.

The issue is real, and the industry has long felt the impact and suffered its consequences. Over half of health care workers surveyed by Ipsos reported burnout, and an even further 23% responded that they were likely to leave the field soon. The exodus shows no indication of slowing—providers need to find a solution.

That said, the answer points to the continued digital transformation of the entire health industry. Health care providers have been slowly, and sometimes begrudgingly, integrating digital solutions into their practices for the past decade. The implementation rate skyrocketed following COVID-19, and now providers are seeing benefits and impact. Digital transformation in health care drives positive results, boosts care, and improves the patient experience. It also takes hours of administrative work off providers’ plates by automating workflows and streamlining the patient experience.

Digitizing patient intake is one of many solutions that can help alleviate burdens placed on workers. Clipboards, paper forms, and filing procedures are no longer standard practice. Patients can complete electronic forms, which a provider’s office can process in seconds, and a physician will have symptoms, vital signs, and medical history at their fingertips.

With digital patient intake solutions, providers can automate patient processing, reduce staff workload, and eliminate inefficient processes and repetitious tasks.

Patient portals are another digital solution that can reduce health care burnout. Providing a digital front door makes for seamless scheduling, bridging communication between patient and provider while helping to overcome bureaucratic pileups. Back and forth between providers and patients can be eliminated by digitizing scheduling processes. Portals also empower patients by providing direct access to their personal health information.

By implementing a holistic digital health care platform, providers can do away with time-consuming tasks and focus efforts on patients. Digital solutions are implementable in nearly all aspects of health care operations; necessary tools are available for the provider to access and experience immediate and long-term benefits. While fully integrating a practice’s health care system takes time and investment, it pays itself back tenfold by streamlining tasks that make workers’ lives easier and drives value for patients. Providers have the opportunity to streamline workloads, reduce labor burdens, and improve patient attention by adopting digital solutions.