Back to burnout, the crisis continues
The times of abundant private practices and house calls are over, most physicians now belong to hospital systems or care networks. As recently as 2019 over 70% of physicians in the United States were employed by hospitals, insurance conglomerates, or corporations1. And with the changing paradigm comes new responsibilities. Now, more than ever doctors are taking on new roles and responsibilities, and it’s impacting their ability to provide care.
A recent study documented that doctors spend as much as 20 hours a week on average across specialties on paperwork, documentation, and administrative work2. As a result, doctors are spending less and less time with individual patients and it’s impacting their ability to build relationships and give adequate diagnoses. Not only are doctors being given more administrative tasks like human resource management and hiring, they are also being expected to do research, continuing education, marketing, outreach and communications, and utilize a host of other specialized fields they haven’t been trained in.
Probably in large part because of the strain placed on doctors, patient satisfaction across the country with all specialties in healthcare is down3. In addition, 1 out of 5 health care professionals have left their jobs this year4. They cited reasons of feeling overwhelmed, overworked, underpaid, and under-respected. The pandemic has only exacerbated that.
Many doctors have become so burnt out they are unable to keep up with treating patients, staying up-to-date in the field, promoting their practice, verifying data, staffing their practice, updating records, scheduling, keeping up relationships with patients, and the plethora of other duties assigned to them. It is becoming more and more apparent that a radical shift in how we practice medicine in America is necessary to fix this crisis. We need a restructuring of care practices and roles, and we need it fast.
Written by Jeremiah Ockunzzi, courtesy of Dr. Bart Rademaker, MD.