Three Strategies for Tackling Physician Burnout: Insights from Dr. Brian Patel at Sturdy Memorial Hospital

Throughout quite some time, physician burnout has been a matter of concern in the healthcare business. Due to lengthy working hours, additional administrative responsibilities, and a general lack of work-life balance, doctors and other healthcare workers frequently experience significant levels of stress and burnout. Yet, the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated this issue, imposing a tremendous pressure on healthcare staff as they ceaselessly treat patients and manage the pandemic.

In this context, this article provides useful insight into how healthcare organizations should address the issue of physician burnout. Dr. Brian Patel, Senior Vice President for Medical Affairs, Medical Director, and Chief Quality Officer of Sturdy Memorial Hospital in Attleboro, Massachusetts, is the subject of this story. Dr. Patel outlines his top three goals for tackling physician burnout in 2023: eliminating workplace violence, reducing emergency department use, and utilizing the correct technologies to operate more efficiently.

First on Dr. Patel’s list of priorities is eliminating workplace violence. This issue has intensified since the outbreak of the pandemic, since it has become more prevalent among patients. Dr. Patel observes that physicians and nurses did not enter the medical field in order to be subjected to violence, and that this issue is a significant cause of burnout. On the basis of a patient’s medical history and prior conduct, he advises that healthcare institutions invest in instruments that can predict the likelihood of violence. Sturdy Memorial Hospital has formed a Threat Assessment Team to analyze cases and devise methods to alert ED personnel when a patient poses a danger of violence. Also, the hospital has teamed with a provider of a healthcare information technology platform to better identify patients with the potential to exhibit violent behavior, as well as those who have displayed violent behavior in the past.

The second objective highlighted by Dr. Patel is reducing emergency department usage. The emergency department is not equipped to handle mental illness, and the epidemic has only made it more difficult for people to receive care, including mental healthcare. Several of these patients wind up in the ED, putting the physical and mental health of ED personnel at risk. Healthcare organizations must proactively address the complex requirements of high ED users, including mental health issues and socioeconomic determinants of health, in order to lessen the stress on ED personnel. At Sturdy Memorial Hospital, a novel technique to detect high ED users with mental health issues and SDOH has resulted in a 45 percent decrease in ED utilization among this demographic.

Dr. Patel concludes by emphasizing the necessity of utilizing the proper tools to work smarter, not harder. Frequently, administrative responsibilities prevent healthcare practitioners from focusing on patient care. Dr. Patel proposes that healthcare institutions engage in telehealth and virtual care technologies to assist doctors operate more efficiently. By utilizing these technologies, physicians may concentrate on providing high-quality patient care rather than on administrative responsibilities.

Dr. Patel’s goals offer great insight into how healthcare institutions might address the problem of physician burnout. By addressing workplace violence, reducing emergency department usage, and utilizing the correct tools to work smarter, healthcare businesses may lessen the load on healthcare professionals and enhance patient outcomes. These initiatives also emphasize the significance of harnessing data and health IT to provide more effective solutions for complicated healthcare concerns. While the healthcare profession continues to deal with the persistent consequences of the COVID-19 epidemic, tackling physician burnout will continue to be a top concern. By emulating Dr. Patel’s example, healthcare companies may assist their healthcare practitioners and enhance patient care.

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