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Digital Incantations: Automated Patient Engagement 101
October 29, 2019
by Dozie Ezerioha, MD
Spooky season is upon us. Pumpkins line the streets, darkness falls before dinner, and candy is soon to be half-off at a store near you. This post, however, is not a cautionary tale about the lurking dangers of your sweet tooth (if you are like me). What is to be discussed is far more frightening than sugar, ghost stories, or anything you can stream on “Huluween”... and it affects us all.
This is a guide to diagnosing and curing the doctor’s curse, known as physician burnout--through digital incantations.
I’m sure that we’ve all seen the warning signs. According to a study conducted by Medscape, over 40% of American physicians suffer from what we now refer to as “Physician Burnout”. This phenomenon is characterized by feelings of physical and emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and a reduction in self-worth. In the midst of the throes, it is not uncommon for the affected doctor to resemble a zombie-like shell of their former self.
Haunted by eternal paperwork, unearthly workloads, and grim consequences of mistakes, physicians may quickly spiral into serious clinical depression. Little-to-no free time disconnects them from their families and support systems, often resulting in compassion fatigue and job resentment. A discussion paper published by the National Academy of Medicine noted that “cross-sectional studies of physicians have found burnout to be independently associated with 25 percent increased odds of alcohol abuse/dependence and 200 percent increased odds of suicidal ideation among physicians”. Thus, those under the curse are far more likely to make major mistakes, have overall lower patient satisfaction, and deliver lower-quality care.
Though we revere our clinicians, our expectations of them border on the supernatural. We rely on our doctors to work ad nauseam, be professional, stay engaged, provide empathetic support, maintain a clear mind through exhaustion, and deliver high-quality care. And we expect them to do it all without providing them with the essential time to care for themselves. Needless to say, we can do better.
Luckily for us, the cure to this curse involves very simple incantations, in the form of software algorithms that automate clinical processes for your physician’s office. Such software comes in various shapes and sizes, and they are not all equally effective. So, it’s very important that the technology you choose is both applicable to your specific practice and effective at reducing the workload of your physician(s) and their team.
At PatientOne, we have built tools that help reduce phone tag when prepping patients for procedures - freeing up valuable time for clinical staff. Our software then sends automated messages to guide, educate and track a patient’s progress, activation and adherence to their prescribed regimen. It’s practically magic.
Research suggests that embracing (the right) innovative digital health technology can drastically reduce the prevalence of physician burnout. With this in mind, we have designed a fully customizable solution that fits each practice (like a glove). Automated patient engagement reduces hospital readmissions through proactive remote patient monitoring, strengthening the patient-provider relationship, boosting patient satisfaction, and relieving the burden of busywork through safe automation.
This year, save the tricks for neighborhood ghouls and treat your clinical staff to the latest digital health technologies. You never know, it might just save a life.
Dr. Dozie Ezerioha is the Chief Medical Informatics Officer at PatientOne. For almost a decade, he’s tackled healthcare’s most pressing real-world challenges by finding ways to fix the system to deliver better outcomes. Dozie’s background in life sciences, engineering and medicine, and his passion for optimizing the patient healthcare experience, drives his patient-centric approach to building innovative health technology.