February 22, 2024

The Bad Business of Burnout (and How AI Can Reverse The Trend)

In 2021, 50.5 million Americans left their jobs. Unsurprisingly, healthcare workers contributed to those numbers en masse. Since 2020, nearly 1 in 5 healthcare workers have quit, and up to 47% of healthcare workers plan to abandon their posts in the next few years. The situation looks as dire as it sounds, and health systems are laser-focused on diagnosing the problems causing their workforces to quit and then starting some treatment plans, stat. The first culprit many health systems have blamed for their workforce exodus isn’t surprising: clinician burnout. 

From 2021 to 2022 alone, the American Medical Association reports that the amount of physicians claiming symptoms of burnout increased drastically from 38% to 63%. Everyone knows clinicians are burned out, but not everyone knows what the ripple effects of the problem look like in a health system. Whether you're preventing these problems in the first place or mitigating their present effects, the introduction of AI tools to aid burdened clinicians has the potential to change things for the better forever.

Below are four tell-tale signs a health system is besieged by burnout and how AI can help:

1. Staff Shortages

A bad situation can quickly worsen when too many resignations come in simultaneously from an already burned-out staff. Short-staffed in any industry is stressful, but even more so when patients’ lives are at stake. Losing too many employees simultaneously creates a domino effect of important information falling through too many cracks.  

AI-driven clinical platforms can shoulder administrative tasks and complete monotonous paperwork for clinicians, freeing up their time and energy. With lightened workloads and streamlined workflows, clinicians are supported rather than pushed to their breaking points.

2. Medical Errors

When clinicians are exhausted, overworked, and stretched thin from staffing shortages, mistakes get made. In healthcare, those mistakes can be fatal. John Hopkins patient safety experts analyzed death-rate data over an eight-year period and determined that 250,000 deaths per year are due to medical error in the U.S. 

The introduction of AI-driven documentation systems can safeguard against medical errors by flagging inaccuracies and utilizing algorithms that point out inconsistencies. With such dire consequences at stake, having another “pair of eyes” on every patient’s treatment plan optimizes patient outcomes.

3. Reduced Quality in Patient Care

When clinicians cannot work at their full capabilities, patients suffer. People know when they are receiving the bare minimum service, and with hospital success resting on the increasing importance of patient satisfaction scores like HCAHPS, unhappy patients are bad for business. 

When clinicians have access to AI tools that streamline all their administrative workflows, they have more time to sit with their patients face-to-face. When patients have their clinicians' undivided attention, they feel seen, heard, and cared for. To increase the quality of patient care, clinicians need to be cared for first. 

4. Broken Patient/Provider Relations

The less energy and time a burned-out physician gives their patients, the less they feel prioritized and cared for. Sick people already feel vulnerable enough - when they then feel like their clinicians don’t even have time for them in a stressed health system, trust is broken. 

By restoring a sense of order and control to stressed health systems, AI tools give clinicians time and space to remember their passion for medicine. These tools help organize and clear out the daily tedium so that patients can be served to the best of clinicians’ abilities, ultimately restoring patient trust in the provider.  

Could AI be the hero healthcare is waiting for? 

Because it can single-handedly put out the aforementioned fires caused by clinician burnout, the answer is yes. With a solid AI-driven documentation platform, every aspect of a clinician's workload receives support. 

Just as clinician burnout can cause ripple effects of adverse conditions throughout health systems, integrating clinical AI platforms in healthcare stimulates opposite waves of game-changing holistic health in response. 

Playback Health’s unified platform supports clinician workflows when they need it most. Start a free trial today

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