Dr Dennis P. Scanlon on Recent Attempts to Address Clinician Burnout

Organizations are trying to think about how they can involve team-based care by incorporating individuals who have a certain skill set that can relieve the practicing clinician, physician, nurse practitioner, or physician assistant from some of the burden, explained Dennis P. Scanlon, PhD, professor, Health Policy and Administration, and director, Center for Health Care and Policy Research, Pennsylvania State University.

Organizations are trying to think about how they can involve team-based care by incorporating individuals who have a certain skill set that can relieve the practicing clinician, physician, nurse practitioner, or physician assistant from some of the burden, explained Dennis P. Scanlon, PhD, professor, Health Policy and Administration, and director, Center for Health Care and Policy Research, Pennsylvania State University.

Transcript

How has the industry’s awareness of and attempts to address clinician burnout changed in recent years?

It’s interesting, and I’ll answer the topic of clinician burnout from the perspective of what I’m hearing from delivery systems as we do this work in trying to understand healthcare delivery systems and decisions that they’re making. I think in this effort to sort of move towards value-based care, there’s a lot of things that are required of clinicians. We have the electronic health record (EHR) and all the documentation that’s required, prompts, decision support, entering of information, less and less time often to spend with patients, and increasingly regulatory burdens and paperwork requirements, and so forth and so on.

So, that creates this burden. Some would describe it as less joy of practicing medicine, and if you have less satisfaction or fulfillment in the work that you do, what’s going to happen? You’re going to potentially look for another opportunity, and I think that’s true probably in any occupation. Certainly, I think that’s been true in the healthcare professions, as well. What I think some organizations, delivery systems in particular, are trying to do is to think about how they can involve team-based care, how they can involve individuals being a part of that team who have a certain skill set that can relieve the practicing clinician, the physician, the nurse practitioner, the physician assistant, from some of that burden, to really get them back to practicing medicine with their patients, and really, that’s why they got into the profession.

So, a lot of these new models will involve technicians or nurses or other members of the team who might, for example, be in the exam room and enter the information in the EHR, who might assist in sort of the documentation of the notes, and ultimately the clinician needs to sign off on those. So, it’s really thinking about how they can allow people to practice at their highest level and for physicians, nurse practitioners, and PAs, it’s seeing patients and spending the time that they need with patients and not circumventing the need to document, but just thinking about ways in which you can bring a team to that to get back to making the practice of medicine more joyful and less burdensome.