Posts Tagged ‘physician trends’

Guest Post: 3 Strategies for Combating Physician Burnout

September 20th, 2018 by James Korman

Physicians now find themselves under more stress and pressure from a variety of sources beyond their control.

Physicians call it “Pajama Time.” But it has nothing to do with curling up with a good book before heading off to bed. In medical parlance, Pajama Time refers to the several hours at night that many physicians must set aside to catch up on completing notes, tasks and orders that they simply don’t have a time to manage during the workday.

Pajama Time is symptomatic of a larger and growing problem throughout the medical profession: physician burnout. Dealing with a flood of medical data is a major cause of physician burnout. But it’s not the only one.

Physicians now find themselves under more stress and pressure from a variety of sources beyond their control. For example, stress is sparked by increased patient volume, wrestling with complex and time-consuming electronic health records (EHRs), merging practices that result in a loss of autonomy and peer-to-peer interactions, and a sharper emphasis on outcome metrics and benchmarks.

Although many of these changes are necessary as medicine moves away from fee-for-service and toward fee-for-value, the triple aim that is meant to fix the U.S. healthcare system only magnifies and perpetuates the stress experienced among the nation’s physicians.

Often difficult to detect, physician burnout takes on many forms. Chief among them is emotional exhaustion, detachment and insensitivity toward patients and a lack of feeling successful and accomplished in their work.

The severity of physician burnout often depends on the type of medical specialty being practiced.

Tait Shanafelt, MD, a nationally recognized expert in physician wellness, in 2014 administered the Maslach Burnout Inventory to a large national physician sample showing that approximately 50 percent of U.S. physicians were experiencing at least one symptom of burnout. In 2013, the first year of the “Medscape Lifestyle Report,” showed that emergency medicine had the highest rates of burnout, just above 50 percent. That jumped to close to 60 percent in 2017. It also showed that physicians working in primary care tended to struggle most with burnout.

The consequences of physician burnout run far and wide.

Picture a Venn diagram, with burnout overlapping the personal and the professional effects. Personal consequences include anxiety, depression, alcohol and substance abuse, family conflict and an increased risk of suicide, according to the Mayo Clinic. Professional consequences range from decreased quality of care to increased medical errors to decreased patient satisfaction.

The rising level of physician burnout is simply unsustainable, with repercussions negatively affecting nearly every facet of the healthcare system.

Summit Medical Group, the nation’s largest independent multispecialty physician group, recognized the concerning trend of burnout among doctors even before it was talked about openly, and is at the forefront of this issue. The group is combating physician burnout on multiple fronts:

  1. Improve communications. One way to help physician burnout is to give physicians an avenue to express what they see as causing their stress and have someone take it seriously. Summit Medical Group (SMG) has made this a top priority by having its board of directors, who are practicing physicians, meet with the group’s physicians to obtain their feedback, thoughts and suggestions. By having regular small group meetings with physicians these leaders gain a keener sense of the possible remedies that SMG can adopt to reduce burnout. Also, most of the interventions that the group has adopted to address burnout has come from these meetings. To further help with communication, SMG assigned lead physicians to geographic regions to ensure that accurate and timely information gets down to the individual physician and their feedback gets up to leadership. Another way SMG has strengthened overall communication is through various electronic newsletters that keep its physicians informed and engaged about the medical group and their colleagues. They have also created a dedicated email address and voicemail allowing their physicians to leave confidential feedback at any time.

  2. Bolster physician support services. It is well-known that physicians are excellent at helping others, but not very good at asking for help themselves. It’s not in their DNA. That’s why it’s incumbent upon medical groups to proactively offer support services to their physicians with minimal barriers. For example, SMG has trained 14 volunteer physicians from different specialties to speak with their colleagues during times of acute stress, unexpected outcomes or when dealing with a medical malpractice lawsuit. These volunteer physicians often have been though similar situations, making it easier for them to offer support and advice. SMG also does not wait for their physicians to ask for help but will reach out to them to offer support whenever one has had a stressful event or appears in need. SMG further understands that at times medical providers need more than a peer to speak to and does have professional psychological services available to them. There are also other support services that SMG has implemented, including ways to help physicians unplug when they are on vacation. Because many physicians receive hundreds of patient orders and tasks per week it is no wonder that many feel compelled to log on to the EHR when they’re supposed to be recharging their batteries. And if they choose not to log-on many experience anxiety on vacation knowing what they are going to return to when they head back to the office. To help, SMG has hired Advanced Practicing Nurses and Physician Assistants to manage their doctors’ EMR inboxes when they are on vacation. This not only helps the vacationing physician but also reduces the burden on the office staff who are often managing their own work along with that of the vacationing doctor.

  3. Foster a sense of community. The ‘Physician Lounge,’ a physical space where doctors could unwind and exchange professional information and give each other support, used to be a staple of the medical profession. No longer. Physicians simply do not have the time to go to the lounge during busy work hours and many medical systems have eliminated them in favor of more clinical space. However, medical groups do need to find alternative means for their physicians to interact with each other to avoid having them feel isolated and siloed. For example, this summer SMG adopted a social media platform called Yammer. Yammer has been described as an on-line “Physician Lounge” where doctors can exchange medical information, consult on general medical cases, share social pleasantries and provide each other support. Similar to Facebook, Yammer is set up for each medical department throughout SMG as well as for the larger physician group. Perhaps most important, Yammer offers physicians a sense of community—a place where they can share ideas, frustrations and solutions to the stresses they face. In addition, SMG holds regular networking events, which give providers who may feel isolated in their work the opportunity to interact with colleagues both professionally and socially.

James Korman

James Korman

About the Author: James Korman, PSYD, FACT, is the director of behavioral health and provider engagement at Summit Medical Group.

Infographic: Physician Lifestyle and Happiness 2018 Report

March 16th, 2018 by Melanie Matthews

Physicians struggle with many of the same issues that other people do—friendships, relationships, exercising and maintaining a healthy weight, according to Medscape’s Physician Lifestyle and Happiness report.

A new infographic by Board Vitals highlights some of the survey findings including what role spiritual beliefs play in physicians’ coping skills, whether physicians are in a committed relationship and physician vacation habits.

Healthcare Trends & Forecasts in 2018: Performance Expectations for the Healthcare IndustryHealthcare Trends & Forecasts in 2018: Performance Expectations for the Healthcare Industry, HIN’s 14th annual business forecast, is designed to support healthcare C-suite planning as leaders react to presidential priorities and seek new strategies for engaging providers, patients and health plan members in value-based care.

HIN’s highly anticipated annual strategic playbook opens with perspectives from industry thought leader Brian Sanderson, managing principal, healthcare services, Crowe Horwath, who outlines a roadmap to healthcare provider success by examining the key issues, challenges and opportunities facing providers in the year to come. Following Sanderson’s outlook is guidance for healthcare payors from David Buchanan, president, Buchanan Strategies, on navigating seven hot button areas for insurers, from the future of Obamacare to the changing face of telehealth to the surprising role grocery stores might one day play in healthcare delivery. Click here for more information.

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Infographic: Patient Wait Time Trends

March 27th, 2017 by Melanie Matthews

Patients are spending less time waiting to see a doctor compared to six years ago, according to a new infographic by Vitals.

The infographic examines what has lead to decreased wait times, the effect of wait times on physician ratings and cities with the shortest and longest wait times.

Patient-centric interventions like population health management, health coaching, home visits and telephonic outreach are designed to engage individuals in health self-management—contributing to healthier clinical and financial results in healthcare’s value-based reimbursement climate.

But when organizations consistently rank patient engagement as their most critical care challenge, as hundreds have in response to HIN benchmark surveys, which strategies will help to bring about the desired health behavior change in high-risk populations?

9 Protocols to Promote Patient Engagement in High-Risk, High-Cost Populations presents a collection of tactics that are successfully activating the most resistant, hard-to-engage patients and health plan members in chronic condition management. Whether an organization refers to this population segment as high-risk, high-cost, clinically complex, high-utilizer or simply top-of-the-pyramid ‘VIPs,’ the touch points and technologies in this resource will recharge their care coordination approach.

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Infographic: A Survival Guide for Independent Physicians

February 3rd, 2017 by Melanie Matthews

The move to value-based case is making it increasingly difficult for physicians to remain as independent practices, according to a new infographic by Intermedix.

Many physicians are considering alternative practice models, including selling their practice to hospital systems. However, according to the Health Care Transformation Task Force, five out of the top six reasons doctors dislike hospital employment have to do with loss of practice control. Forming a professional partnership is another alternative that provides physicians with group negotiation power and operational support without compromising ownership or management autonomy.

The infographic examines how a supergroup can help physicians maintain independence and achieve practice success.

Healthcare Trends & Forecasts in 2017: Performance Expectations for the Healthcare Industry Not in recent history has the outcome of a U.S. presidential election portended so much for the healthcare industry. Will the Trump administration repeal or replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA)? What will be the fate of MACRA? Will Medicare and Medicaid survive?

These and other uncertainties compound an already daunting landscape that is steering healthcare organizations toward value-based care and alternative payment models and challenging them to up their quality game.

Healthcare Trends & Forecasts in 2017: Performance Expectations for the Healthcare Industry, HIN’s 13th annual business forecast, is designed to support healthcare C-suite planning during this historic transition as leaders prepare for both a new year and new presidential leadership.

Get the latest healthcare infographics delivered to your e-inbox with Eye on Infographics, a bi-weekly, e-newsletter digest of visual healthcare data. Click here to sign up today. Have an infographic you’d like featured on our site? Click here for submission guidelines.

Infographic: Four Trends Impacting Healthcare in the United States

January 20th, 2017 by Melanie Matthews

The U.S. healthcare system is in a state of massive transformation, according to a new infographic by Alacriti. The shift is being driven by economic factors, legislation and evolving consumer expectations impacting all facets in the industry—from how patients receive their care to how providers are reimbursed for services provided.

The infographic outlines the changes occurring in the industry.

Healthcare Trends & Forecasts in 2017: Performance Expectations for the Healthcare Industry Not in recent history has the outcome of a U.S. presidential election portended so much for the healthcare industry. Will the Trump administration repeal or replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA)? What will be the fate of MACRA? Will Medicare and Medicaid survive?

These and other uncertainties compound an already daunting landscape that is steering healthcare organizations toward value-based care and alternative payment models and challenging them to up their quality game.

Healthcare Trends & Forecasts in 2017: Performance Expectations for the Healthcare Industry, HIN’s 13th annual business forecast, is designed to support healthcare C-suite planning during this historic transition as leaders prepare for both a new year and new presidential leadership.

Get the latest healthcare infographics delivered to your e-inbox with Eye on Infographics, a bi-weekly, e-newsletter digest of visual healthcare data. Click here to sign up today. Have an infographic you’d like featured on our site? Click here for submission guidelines.

Infographic: Building a Million-Dollar Physician Relationship

August 1st, 2016 by Melanie Matthews

In today’s competitive healthcare environment, hospitals and health systems are looking to drive patient volume and attract and retain physicians, according to a new infographic by Evariant.

According to Evariant, the financial results of physician relationship management are compelling: A single physician, whether in primary care or a specialty, can generate more than $1.5 million in revenue each year, so it’s a heavy price when referrals and procedures are lost to competitors.

The infographic drills down on how to build an effective physician relationship management strategy.

A profitable by-product of CMS’s aggressive pursuit of value-based healthcare delivery is a menu of revenue opportunities associated with care management of the Medicare population.

Physician Reimbursement in 2016: 4 Billable Medicare Events to Maximize Care Management Revenue and Results details the ways in which Bon Secours Medical Group (BSMG) leverages a team-based care approach, expanded care access and technology to capitalize on four Medicare billing events: transitional care management, chronic care management, Medicare annual wellness visits and advance care planning.

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Infographic: Are You Ready to Add Recurring Revenue to Your Physician Practice?

July 20th, 2016 by Melanie Matthews

Some 68 percent of the Medicare population have two or more chronic conditions, according to a new infographic by CareSync.

The infographic examines how physician practices can bill for chronic care management (CCM) services under CMS’ CCM program and the impact of CCM on outcomes and the patient experience.

Chronic Care Management Reimbursement Compliance: Physician Requirements for Value-Based RevenueBeyond providing added revenue, billing via Medicare Chronic Care Management (CCM) CPT codes helps to bridge physician practices to value-based care delivery models like the accountable care organization (ACO) or patient-centered medical home (PCMH). Use of the CCM codes is also an opportunity to launch or enhance a chronic care management program. According to 2015 market data, nearly half of responding healthcare organizations lack a formal chronic care management structure, leaving critical reimbursement dollars on the table.

However, practices poised to bill under CCM codes must contend with vague guidance from CMS in certain areas and conflicting interpretations from outside sources on CCM implementation.

Chronic Care Management Reimbursement Compliance: Physician Requirements for Value-Based Revenue sets the record straight on CCM reimbursement compliance, offering strategies for navigating obstacles and meeting requirements.

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Infographic: The Millennial Physician Mindset

July 4th, 2016 by Melanie Matthews

Some 59 percent of millennial physicians believe that being a millennial impacts their practice approach, usually with a more collaborative relationship with their patients, according to a new infographic by the Health Experience Project.

The infographic examines how millennial physicians engage their patients and the type of support that millennial physicians want from pharmaceutical companies.

A profitable by-product of CMS’s aggressive pursuit of value-based healthcare delivery is a menu of revenue opportunities associated with care management of the Medicare population.

Physician Reimbursement in 2016: 4 Billable Medicare Events to Maximize Care Management Revenue and Results details the ways in which Bon Secours Medical Group (BSMG) leverages a team-based care approach, expanded care access and technology to capitalize on four Medicare billing events: transitional care management, chronic care management, Medicare annual wellness visits and advance care planning.

Get the latest healthcare infographics delivered to your e-inbox with Eye on Infographics, a bi-weekly, e-newsletter digest of visual healthcare data. Click here to sign up today.

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Infographic: 2016 Physician Revenue Survey

April 29th, 2016 by Melanie Matthews

The average salary for all physicians is $1,560,688, up from $1,448,136 when the survey was last conducted in 2013, but down from a high of $1,855,773 in 2004, according to a new survey by Merritt Hawkins.

Merritt Hawkins released an infographic that details the study results, including average salaries for primary care physicians, specialists and all physicians.

With more than a quarter-century of experience with value-based reimbursement models, Humana is ideally positioned to help physician practices navigate the transition from fee for service to fee for value. The payor’s multi-level Accountable Care Continuum rewards physician practices for care coordination of Medicare beneficiaries along the population health spectrum.

During Physician Value-Based Reimbursement: Quality Rewards for Population Health describes the four tiers of Humana’s Physician Quality Rewards program as well as the support, training, technologies and outcomes associated with these pay-for-value relationships.

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Infographic: 12 Physician Practice Models

January 18th, 2016 by Melanie Matthews

Healthcare industry challenges and government mandates are changing the way some physician practices operate, according to a new infographic by BillingParadise.

The infographic outlines how 12 different physician practice models work to help physicians understand and choose a model best suited for them.

One year after the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services began reimbursing physician practices for chronic care management services, Bon Secours Medical Group is now comfortable with the CCM reimbursement requirements and is reporting that it’s unique approach to this revenue opportunity is ramping up nicely. And, the organization’s approach to chronic care management reimbursement is helping to position itself for advance care planning as a new billable CMS event in the upcoming year.

During Physician Reimbursement in 2016: Workflow Optimization for Chronic Care Management and Advance Care Planning, a January 26th webinar at 1:30 p.m. Eastern, Robert Fortini, PNP, chief clinical officer for Bon Secours Medical Group, will provide an inside look at his organization’s experience with CMS’ chronic care management reimbursement this year and how they are leveraging this experience for CMS’ newest billable event in 2016—advance care planning.

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