Mix together long hours, hectic schedules, heavy caseloads, COVID-19 chaos, and office politics, and you get a toxic recipe for medical practice burnout. Don't ignore these signs! Medical office managers can reduce the effects of stress and burnout with strategies that support providers and staff. Learn best practices to avoid burnout, protect your practice, and increase patient satisfaction.
Best Practices for Avoiding Burnout at Your Medical Practice
You know you're in for another hectic day when you can feel the negativity from the back to the front. Providers are impatient or unavailable; clinicians are argumentative; the front office staff isn't communicating well. Burnout creates a toxic workplace, wreaking havoc on office productivity and morale, threatening patient safety, and in some cases, increasing the risk of malpractice litigation. And studies have shown that a chaotic medical office environment negatively impacts overall patient satisfaction.
It's time to stop the madness! These five strategies can starve the burnout beast and help improve the overall morale in your medical office.
Promote work/life balance.
Are physicians or staff known for taking work home? Start encouraging them and yourself to leave work at work, to be present after hours for family, friends, and personal obligations. Emails, documentation, and scheduling should be completed during designated work hours. Encourage healthy habits like taking breaks and eating breakfast and lunch. Studies have shown that productivity goes up when one is able to step away and take a moment before returning to work.
Manage time effectively.
Don't wait until the end of the day to complete schedules and reports. Try to block off time earlier in the day for tedious tasks. Effective time management means streamlining operations in the front office and for the provider, which can improve patient satisfaction. Take a realistic look at schedules to figure out what can be accomplished within the workday. It may be finding new ways to stay organized, setting boundaries and limits for overcommitted providers, or standardizing workflows using automation tools.
Engage employees with open communication.
Does your team feel comfortable approaching you with concerns? Try opening up a conversation about stress and burnout. Schedule periodic gut-check sessions. Acknowledging problems and supporting your medical office staff's well-being goes a long way in terms of creating better communication and finding solutions.
Provide ongoing training and personal development opportunities.
There’s nothing more discouraging than an employee who wishes to do a good job but doesn’t have the knowledge to do so. While a practice may provide training during onboarding, ongoing learning helps your employees expand their skill set and stay current on the latest guidelines, protocols, and procedures. It also may reduce turnover and improve patient satisfaction. And, there's an intrinsic sense of gratitude and loyalty that comes from providing continuing education for your team.
Create a positive culture inside and outside the practice.
Ultimately, employees want to be able to build rapport and relationships with their peers, managers, and physicians. Create a culture where employees are recognized for their accomplishments; celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, and special occasions; and when it is safe to gather, hold team events like happy hours or trivia events.
Stamp Out Burnout
As you can imagine, this is a hot topic in medical offices right now. PMI Instructor Misty Nelson will share ways to prevent burnout in an encore presentation tomorrow - October 26, 12 noon to 1 p.m. Central. Sign up for this $49 session >>> here.