Reducing Physician Burnout-Related Costs Through EHR Improvements

Chikee Tiu
Dec 5, 2018
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Virtual Medical Assistance
Xilium VMAs

In the past year, about 51% of physicians reported frequent feelings of burnout and it’s costing healthcare organizations a lot. Burnout-related costs, like replacing existing physicians, can sum up to $500,000 to roughly $1 million—but that’s only a portion of the financial concern. Indirect costs related to efficiency and productivity are also incurred, as well as lost revenue brought in by the shortage of available physicians.

What organizations should do is address the issues and factors behind physician burnout (i.e., time constraints, technology and regulations) to better understand the challenges physicians face. A large contributor to physician burnout is the weight of EHR workload with doctors spending half of their time at work mainly on EHR.

EHR has allowed physicians and healthcare organizations to create seamless patient information databases, but the process behind these highly detailed charts isn’t easy. EHR documentation is time consuming. Physicians organize large amounts of patient data along with visiting and treating their patients. Ultimately, healthcare providers are left with limited options as there are no current EHR developments to reduce the complexity of the documentation process.

Healthcare organizations cannot afford to lose more revenue due to physician burnout. One option is to focus on reducing EHR burdens on physicians. Organizations and practitioners can hire additional staff such as medical scribes to account, manage, and record patient information for physicians. Another option is investing in EHR training for physicians and staff. However, the tradeoff for these initiatives also includes additional costs for the organization or practice.

Xilium’s virtual medical assistants or VMAs are fully trained and HIPAA compliant. Our VMAs can help physicians in sorting out tedious and exhausting EHR work and focus on other aspects of the practice, such as dealing with billing and insurance claims. Reducing the weight of physician workload doesn’t necessarily erase burnout altogether, but it should contribute to reducing the likelihood of physician burnout and saving healthcare providers revenue related to it.

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