Simplified processes can alleviate systemic burnout in medical education


It’s no secret that training requirements for doctors are at an all-time high. the National Academy of Medicine claims that the skill demands of a 21st century physician have resulted in an ever-increasing workload – one of many factors leading to burnout and attrition among students, educators and medical education administrators.

So how do you know when you’re exhausted? the WHO describes burnout as “chronic stress at work that has not been successfully managed”. It may present as a feeling of exhaustion or exhaustion of energy; increased mental distance from one’s work, cynicism related to one’s work, and reduced professional effectiveness. And this is the last thing we want for any professional, but especially for educators, leaders, doctors and health professionals who have mobilized to train or take care of our health.

While a myriad of factors can contribute to burnout, Stanford Social Innovation Review says that burnout is a collective problem and “impossible to solve for an individual without a systemic perspective”.

Structural causes of burnout among health educators

Thomas P. Reith wrote in the Cureus Journal of Medical Sciences that healthcare professionals consistently cite “too much bureaucratic work (e.g., record keeping, paperwork), spending too many hours at work, and increasing computerization of practice (health records (EHR))” among the top factors that lead to burnout.

Reith says that, on average, doctors spend 2.6 hours a week managing these bureaucratic tasks, enough time to see nine additional patients. Moreover, these tasks are often performed outside working hours, which adds to the doctor’s total working hours – another cause of burnout.

Faculty welfare is a primary concern, especially in an educational environment. the National Academy of Medicine says that “faculty well-being can influence teaching behaviors and learner experience,” which can impact medical student burnout. Furthermore, the Academy found that burnout can even affect the quality of patient care provided by interns, suggesting that burnout impacts patient care.

In today’s digital age, increased computerization of practice is perhaps inevitable. And, while initial learning curves and difficult-to-use tools can contribute to additional stress in the short term, the long-term benefit of automating heavy processes and increasing monitoring is often exponential. . However, to see benefits in implementing program management tools, program managers must have the support, professional advice, even externaltime and training that aligns a solution to their individual program needs and propels educators, residents, and students to achieve their goals.

While workplace wellness programs, an $8 billion industry in the United States, mean well, they often address the symptoms rather than the root causes of burnout. Harvard Medical School published a study in The Journal of the American Medical Association suggesting that workplace wellness systems had no overall impact on the problems they aimed to address and “failed to improve baseline workplace parameters”.

The COVID-19 pandemic has not helped the situation either. Nikolis, Wakim and Adams said in BMC medical training that the COVID-19 period has resulted in a significant decrease in overall well-being, including lower confidence in medical education – exacerbating medical student and administrator burnout. Additionally, with American medical students suffering from higher rates of burnout-related conditions, such as depression and anxiety, it’s likely that declining student engagement will only add to the ever-growing list of stressors facing medical educators.

Now, more than ever, it is essential that medical education programs turn to alternative solutions, such as software automation or management solutions, that allow their leaders and educators to regain control of their time and prioritize their passion to empower the next generation of physicians and healthcare professionals.

Fighting burnout

By integrating technologies and/or tools that promote streamlined and automated processes, health education program managers can address the structural causes of burnout, rather than continuing to address the symptoms. Healthcare training programs can seek to improve process efficiencies to address burnout in three main ways:

#1: Reduce unnecessary, redundant, or touch-intensive manual tasks with automation

By reducing manual, redundant, or error-prone activities through automated and optimized processes, healthcare educators can address the structural causes of staff and trainee burnout.

Digital management solutions with tools like MedHub’s pre-populated forms or program mapping technologies can offer immense time savings, avoiding the long hours of work and excessive paperwork that contribute to burnout. professional.

#2: Provide easy-to-access tools that make mandatory tasks less cumbersome

Robert M. Wah, former president of the American Medical Association said once“Physicians want to provide our patients with the best possible care, but today there are confusing, misaligned and burdensome regulatory programs that rob physicians of the critical time they could be spending delivering high-quality care to their patients. patients.”

Reduce paperwork and tedious manual processes related to managing assessments, scheduling, recording and tracking hours, and tracking student progress can provide significant time savings for medical education staff and students alike.

#3: Gain additional insights into student data to manage work hours, understand intern performance, and identify underperformers for early intervention

Physical and emotional stress on residents can be significantly reduced by positive and satisfying learning environments during training, University of Arkansas College of Medical Sciences said. Creating learning environments that closely monitor student performance and provide opportunities for early intervention can be key to establishing supportive and positive environments for trainees.

O’Marr, Chan, Wong, Samuels and Boatright said in the Journal of the American Medical Association that medical education experiences are largely influenced by “two important elements of the learning environment: interactions with faculty and the emotional climate”.

Supporting educators with resources to streamline processes and manage student progress can positively impact a program’s emotional climate by reducing stress and providing an optimal learning environment for trainees.

By using a solution like MedHub With advanced reporting features, programs can reduce student stress by creating an environment that promotes growth and recognizes when additional guidance or support may be helpful.

Real-world example: Institutions using MedHub have access to important data points to gain oversight to review and identify opportunities for improvement with over 150 metrics, with baseline data. And users save time by leveraging over 100 out-of-the-box reports; many of which are linked to student burnout.

The solution to fight against systemic exhaustion

Medical education programs can improve the efficiency of their processes and prevent burnout at the source with the right help at their fingertips.

For proof of the power of MedHub in driving system-level change, see our achievements.

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