Telehealth Battles Physician Burnout

Physician’s Weekly  reports that a shocking 42% of U.S. physicians suffer from burnout – diminished enthusiasm for their work that can lead to poor performance.

In a recent Medscape survey of 15,000 physicians, respondents cited three major causes for burnout: unmanageable work schedules, lack of autonomy, and feeling rushed on the job. Fortunately, telehealth can help alleviate all three of those problems:

Making schedules more manageable– Some doctors are now designating specific days of the week as “telemedicine days” where they can see patients from the comfort of their homes – eliminating stressful commuting.

Gaining greater autonomy– A growing number of providers are splitting their schedules 50/50 between telehealth and in-person consultations. Many are finding that they have a keener eye for the patient’s condition when they observe remotely, in a relaxed, uninterrupted setting.

Reducing the need to hurry– Many physicians feel rushed because they have to physically move from room to room all day – or from rounds to department meetings, then back to the office. Telehealth can help simplify their workday, giving them more time for patient interaction.

One of the mega-trends in medicine is that many younger doctors are taking salaried jobs to avoid the 12-hour days their older colleagues have long endured. Younger physicians are insisting that their time is more valuable than money. They’d rather make less than get burned out doing rounds on Christmas morning – or miss their kids’ birthday parties because of on-call commitments.

The motto of these younger physicians is “balance, not burnout” – and telehealth is fast becoming their #1 tool for achieving it.

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