Clinicians are central to healthcare. With increasing shortages, organizations need to find ways to recruit and retain their clinicians. One great way to do this is to improve the clinician experience in meaningful ways. A pizza lunch is nice, but this does not fix fundamental problems that make clinicians’ jobs harder. Talking to clinicians about the real problems and taking steps to mitigate these problems can make clinicians feel valued and make them want to stay at the organization. Talking to clinicians at your organization to figure out your specific problems is key to finding lasting solutions, but here are a few ways we think you can improve work for clinicians.
1. Improve the documentation experience
Documentation can be frustrating for clinicians. Because of paper workarounds, many clinicians end up writing notes in different formats – paper, email, text, google docs – throughout the day, and then spend time finding and re-writing all this information for the official patient note in the EHR. In addition to this duplicative documentation, an ever-increasing number of regulations to comply with an increased number of patient visits can contribute to the sheer amount of notes that clinicians need to write. Improving documentation can improve the clinician experience. Better tech and more time with patients can help clinicians focus on their patient while still documenting the relevant patient information.
2. Reduce administrative work
In a survey, 60% of physician respondents said that the main contributor to their burnout is too many bureaucratic and administrative tasks. Clinicians spend hours each day on administrative work, which is time that they are not able to spend with patients. In his Sharp Conversations interview, Dr. Lee Buttz discusses the importance of reducing administrative work. This can be done by increasing staffing support, adjusting regulations, and by giving clinicians better tech to make their work more efficient.
3. Give clinicians autonomy with their tech
Clinicians do not get much choice in the technology they use, which can be frustrating. In his Sharp Conversations interview, Gabe Charbonneau, MD, family physician and co-founder of Medicine Forward, talks about how a lack of autonomy with technology leaves clinicians feeling drained. “We’re trying to help reverse this trend of everyone being grounded from working in the EMR and feeling like they have less autonomy than ever, and that their jobs are just exhausting,” he says. Allow clinicians to be involved in decisions with the technology they use, and encourage IT to work with clinicians to optimize the current technology to better fit clinician workflows.
4. Give clinicians more time to do meaningful work
Clinicians want to spend their time doing meaningful work with patients. “There are so many opportunities, though, to fix the way workflows are, so that we can spend the majority of our time focused on doing what’s meaningful to us – connecting to patients, doing procedures that make a difference in people’s lives, educating people who are coming up through the ranks, and working on research and innovation to improve healthcare. Those are the things that are meaningful to us,” says Paul DeChant, MD, MBA in an interview. This can be by removing unnecessary tasks, sharing work better between care teams, and giving clinicians tools to make them more efficient with the administrative work they do need to complete.
5. Address Workplace Violence
Workplace violence is a major issue impacting healthcare workers. How can clinicians put all their attention towards patient care if they are worried about their psychological and physical safety? Organizations can take proactive steps to address safety, such as creating a workplace violence prevention program and investing in technology or processes that help the entire care team feel safe.
6. Increase Conversations Between Leaders and Clinicians
There is often a disconnect between leadership and clinicians working directly with patients. Improving communication between leaders and clinicians can help improve clinicians’ experience, patient outcomes, and the health systems’ success. Leaders can get input from clinicians and create meeting times to work around clinicians’ patient schedules. Another extremely effective solution is to have leaders shadow clinicians for a day so they can see firsthand why some solutions are better than others.
7. Support clinician’s mental health
The last few years have been brutal for healthcare workers. Many are struggling with stress and mental health concerns. However, not all healthcare workers have access to mental health services, or there may be stigma or licensure concerns. Providing mental health support, and de-stigmatizing this treatment can help encourage clinicians to seek help when they need it.
8. Provide fair compensation and maintain adequate staffing levels
Compensate clinicians fairly. Many organizations are stretched thin, but healthcare doesn’t work without clinicians. In addition to fair compensation, it is important to maintain adequate staffing levels. This is easier said than done, but if you are having trouble with staffing, work with your clinicians to create a plan for what to do if a unit is short-staffed.
What are other meaningful ways to improve the clinician experience? Let us know on social media!