How to Reduce Hospitalist Burnout: Top 4 Tips

November 28, 2022 by Antonio Arias, MBA, CHBME

Topics: Revenue Cycle Management, Practice Management

In a recent report, 80% of physicians said they were burned out. 

Burnout can happen to anyone in any field but is especially concerning when healthcare professionals are affected since this state of mind can have disastrous consequences to our overall health system.

Defined by the World Health Organization as a syndrome resulting from chronic work-related stress that isn’t being properly managed, burnout can have both short-term and long-term effects on the individual enduring it. 

Healthcare professionals, such as hospitalists, are particularly impacted due to the nature of their work; long hours, emotional distress, and endless decision fatigue are just some of the factors that can lead to burnout.

In this article, we’ll discuss the signs of burnout, how burnout impacts patient care, and provide some tips to help reduce hospitalist burnout. Keep reading to learn more!

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What Is a Hospitalist?

In order to understand how burnout impacts hospitalists, let’s first understand what a hospitalist is and what is entailed in this profession.

The term was coined in the late twentieth-century by Robert Wachter, MD, MHM, in his article in the Journal of New England Medicine. At the time–1996–hospitalists were defined as “specialists in inpatient medicine…who will be responsible for managing the care of hospitalized patients in the same way that primary care physicians are responsible for managing the care of outpatients.”

Nowadays, a hospitalist might be involved in a number of areas within a hospital setting, including:

  • Research
  • Patient care
  • Professional development within the hospital
  • Leadership and networking within the hospital
  • Teaching or mentoring other medical professionals
  • And more!

You might be wondering what the difference is between hospitalists and traditional physicians. The simple answer is that hospitalists are based in–you guessed it–hospitals while traditional physicians can practice at outpatient clinics as well. 

Hospitalist burnout negatively impacts patient care

Signs of Burnout & Its Impact on Patient Care

Now let’s examine what the most common signs of burnout are and how they manifest. According to the World Health Organization, these include:

  • feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion
  • increased mental distance from one’s job or feelings negative towards one’s career
  • reduced professional productivity

When hospitalists and other healthcare professionals are enduring burnout, the quality of patient care is at risk of suffering. Decisions can’t be clearly made, details might get missed, and the hospitalist’s ability to comprehensively engage with a patient is reduced.

Top 4 Tips for Reducing Hospitalist Burnout

Let’s dive into some tips for reducing hospitalist burnout:

Standardize Processes When Possible

Working in the healthcare field, especially as a hospitalist, entails so much more than just showing up to your patient’s appointments. There are dozens of processes that must be handled before, during, and after your patient interactions; that’s why it’s helpful to standardize as many of them as you can so that you can focus on delivering quality care.

One of the first steps to standardizing your daily workflow is to write out the order of operations for all that you do. Taking this task with intention will force you to pay attention to all the little things that make up each process. Having a set of written instructions for each process means you’ll be less likely to forget something–which creates extra work–and can provide the opportunity to see what can be streamlined.

Leverage Metrics

If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it; metrics are an invaluable way to understand, organize, and track your workload from infinite perspectives. Gaining insight into how you spend your day leads to insight into how you spend your weeks and months; this information can be leveraged to streamline workflows and measure the impact your work has.

There are truly so many qualities and quantities to track in your workflow, including:

  • The average time you spend face-to-face with each patient
  • Overall patient satisfaction
  • Number of no-show appointments in a month 
  • Number of rejected medical billing claims
  • And more!

These metrics are vital to keeping you and your workflow in perspective, which is a powerful approach to keeping burnout at bay.

Leveraging metrics can help reduce the impact of burnout

Take Time for Yourself, Too

If you’ve ever been on an airplane, then you’ve heard the emergency instruction before: place your oxygen mask over your face before helping others. The same is true for reducing burnout as a hospitalist or any other healthcare professional–you can’t take care of others if you’re not taking care of yourself.

Whether it’s going for a run before your day starts, talking to a licensed mental health counselor on a regular basis, baking goods for your colleagues, or something else, it’s essential that you take time for yourself.

Outsource Repetitive Tasks like Medical Billing

Tasks that need to be done every day or every week can become a huge pain point in your workflow, but you can’t just ignore them.

Instead, to help manage your workload and optimize your tasks, outsource what you can! This might mean partnering with a medical billing firm to handle your medical billing needs.

The medical billing process and overall healthcare revenue cycle can be grueling to tackle on your own. From complicated billing regulations that seem to change every year to ensuring accurate medical coding and more, medical billing is essential to your success but feels like an uphill battle.

Outsourcing such repetitive tasks frees up your time and energy to focus on more important matters that require your attention.

Partner with NCG Medical to Handle Your Medical Billing Burden!

When medical billing and claims coding is the last thing you want to deal with after a long week, it’s time to let a team of medical billing experts handle that burden for you.

That’s where the team of friendly medical billing experts at NCG Medical are the ace up your sleeve. Let us optimize your healthcare revenue cycle so that you can enjoy minimal rejected claims, prompt reimbursement, and peace of mind. 

With more than 40 years of experience, we’re eager to take this weight off your shoulders so that you can focus on what matters most: attending to your many responsibilities as a hospitalist.

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