South African healthcare professionals were experiencing burnout even before COVID-19 hit the country. That’s according to Dr Saeeda Paruk, a psychiatry lecturer at the University of KwaZulu Natal, who was quoted in an article about mental health in SA during the pandemic. It’s arguably well-known that doctors & healthcare professionals work gruelling hours – a trend that spiked as hospitals & doctor’s rooms filled up with COVID cases. According to the same article, approximately 40% of all healthcare workers, including allied health professionals, are burnout & up to 50% of healthcare workers experience anxiety, depression, & extended periods of heightened stress.
The fact that the peak of COVID is behind us, has made little to no difference to overall burnout levels in valued healthcare professionals. While it’s not a quick (& therefore feasible) fix to simply add more healthcare professionals to the workforce, there are some ways that technology can alleviate the time & administration burden of providing care.
Here’s how technology can help to prevent the burnout that plagues healthcare:
1. Provides easier patient record keeping*
Technology, such as Electronic Medical Records (EMRs), have come a long way since their original versions. The major change has been that these clinical systems are now built so that they simplify & automate work for healthcare professionals. In other words, EMR software will:
- enhance & compliment your clinical notes taking. A good EMR will enable you to work the way you want to work whether that is with a stylus, click templates, free text &/or charts – you have the option to choose what you prefer.
- summarise patient information for you in easy-to-view dashboards. This will enable you to view a snapshot of your patient’s overall health & most important & recent health encounters & treatment regimes.
- trend patient information for you. This will enable you to know how your patient’s health is tracking over time.
- alert you to incoming pathology reports & outstanding tasks making admin much more seamless.
- simplify access to patient information by keeping it secure & enabling you to access it from anywhere, anytime.
2. Streamlines the appointment process*
Technology is helping healthcare professionals find ways to simplify processes around more traditional call-ins for appointment booking.
- No more lengthy & repeated phone calls to patients to book appointments. Online booking platforms empower patients to book their own appointments, enabling your practice to have more time to focus on other important admin tasks.
- No more follow-up calls reminding patients of their appointment are needed as automated SMSes remind patients of upcoming appointments & are proven to be just as, if not more effective.
- Waiting on hold & making dozens of calls to medical aids every day to check if the patient has funds available is also a thing of the past. Smart practice management software will automate benefit checks as soon as the patient is booked into the online calendar.
3. Automates many time-consuming admin tasks*
Admin is necessary, but also a driver of feelings of burnout & anxiety. Here’s how tech can automate & simplify burdensome routine admin tasks:
- Simplifies & automates appointment & payment reminders via SMS, thereby removing these tasks almost entirely.
- Simplifies & automates Patient benefits checks, enabling more focus on the patient.
- Simplifies & automates the reconciliation of remittances, providing huge savings in time & energy.
- Simplifies & automates the conversion of billing instructions into claims, minimising billing errors & effort.
4. Simplifies billing*
Billing is a necessary function of any business, but for doctors more focused on patient care than invoicing – it can be a time drain. Tech can help overcome some billing frustrations, including:
- Not being able to bill the patient at the time of service. Tech enables practices to send claims in real-time so that co-payments can be collected before the patient leaves the practice.
- Lost revenue. Tech enables practices to create customise claim templates that ensure claims are optimised & include often forgotten procedures & consumables.
- Inaccurate data. Tech enables your billing and patient records to be integrated. This means that the relevant patient information & diagnosis codes are shared seamlessly between the healthcare professional & admin staff.
Of course, technology can’t transform mental health & wellness or offer complete protection from burnout, but technology can alleviate the onerous, time-consuming tasks that can trigger feelings of overwhelm & burnout. For more information about how technology can give you back some time & boost your overall satisfaction at work click here.
* Not all technology is created equally, the benefits & functionality described in this article is based on Healthbridge’s Healthbridge Clinical with myMPS.
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