Supplier team burnout: Eliminate human and organizational damage

Supplier team burnout: Eliminate human and organizational damage



This is the third article series As the healthcare industry begins to stand out from the challenges of the pandemic, we focus on process-based opportunities.As in Introduction to this series, Each of these articles will define a problem, consider the problem and its impact on healthcare, and then propose potential solutions.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, clinician burnout has been one of the main challenges facing healthcare—and Shortage of care And it is expected that there will be a shortage of doctors in the near future.

Although most burnout studies have focused on doctors, burnout has long been considered a problem for the entire nursing team. Nothing exposes this reality more than a pandemic. Every day, millions of Americans watch news pictures of hospital and health system workers working to death in front of them.

As we begin to respond to the pandemic, hospitals, health systems, and physician practices will return to normal, and the nursing team will return to normal processes.

This means that the seeds of burnout are still present in these processes, but after we have all experienced these, there may be more fertile soil to grow. It will be our job as health care leaders to reverse this situation.


First, let us see what burnout is and what is not. Burnout is not depression or anxiety, although it may show some of the same symptoms. It will not occupy your mind quickly, but a gradual process that gradually escalates over time. One of the core reasons is chronic stress. In 2019, the World Health Organization classified job burnout as an “occupational phenomenon”. Define like this:

“Occupational burnout is a conceptualized syndrome that is caused by long-term work pressure and has not been successfully managed. It is characterized by three aspects: the feeling of energy depletion or exhaustion; increased psychological distance from work, or work-related Negative emotions or cynical feelings.”

Impact on healthcare

In addition to the impact of burnout on individuals, it also has a significant impact on overall health care. The National Academy of Medical Sciences claims that clinician burnout is a serious threat to the health of the organization. A recent widely cited study on provider burnout estimated that the cost of doctor burnout in the US healthcare industry was US$4.6 billion per year, mainly due to reduced turnover and clinical work hours. The annual cost per hired doctor is US$7,600.

Nurses in the nursing team were also affected. A survey of 1,688 direct nursing nurses in three hospitals (a total of 3,135 surveys in 2018 and 2019) found that 54% of nurses had moderate burnout and 28% of nurses had high burnout.

The survey also found that a year later, emotional exhaustion scores increased by 10%, and cynicism scores increased by 19%. Studies have shown that for every additional unit of the emotional exhaustion scale, 12% increase in turnover. These surveys were completed before the pandemic. Imagine what happened in the past two years.

According to more than 12,000 doctors participating in the study, the Medscape 2021 physician burnout and suicide report released in January showed that the pandemic has exacerbated burnout. In this year’s study, 42% of doctors report that they are exhausted, 21% of them reported that their burnout symptoms started after the COVID-19 pandemic began.

The top six burnout factors cited by survey participants are familiar to those studying health care burnout:

  • Too many bureaucratic tasks
  • Spend too much time at work
  • Lack of respect from administrators/employers, colleagues or employees
  • Compensation/Undercompensation
  • Lack of control/autonomy
  • Improve the computerization of practice

Solutions to workplace burnout

An important conclusion of the early definition is that burnout is “unsuccessfully managed” pressure. Just as suppliers can individually manage their own long-term work stress in a variety of ways, organizations can also implement solutions at the front-end process level to reduce or eliminate the main factors and their effects that cause burnout in the workplace.

The common thread that causes clinician burnout is that there are too many tasks that cannot be completed in a limited time. The more we can do to automate and give clinicians flexibility, the better. In order to solve the organizational and bottom-line impact of medical burnout, four areas need to be focused on:

  1. train. We often train clinicians in a specific technology (such as EHR), and then we let them use it forever. They will be overwhelmed if you do not update their knowledge as the function changes and new upgrades occur.

  2. Governance. Knowing when to introduce new processes and procedures, and its impact on rotation, patient acceptance, and productivity is all about good governance. Leaders need to understand the impact of their decisions so that they can effectively manage the process so as not to overwhelm stakeholders.

  3. communication. Involve stakeholders as early as possible and communicate with them uninterruptedly to ensure that they always understand what is happening and use different channels and methods to communicate.

  4. System construction. The term system construction may sound technical, but it has nothing to do with technology, but with process. Your goal is to build an agile and effective process that does not require clinicians to perform the same operation multiple times. Anything we can do to reduce the number of clicks, the number of screens they open, or the number of places they must go, will greatly help reduce their burnout.

Focusing on these areas can eliminate some human and economic losses caused by years of inefficient operations, outdated technology, and lack of integration of nursing teams in medical institutions.

This will give care team members more time to focus on things that they care about, which will benefit the entire organization-providing high-quality patient care.

Sam Hannah Is an executive in residence at an American university. Previous positions include consulting practice leader, chief strategy and innovation officer, and digital strategist at global consulting companies such as PricewaterhouseCoopers and Deloitte. He holds a PhD in Translational Health Sciences from George Washington University and an MBA in Entrepreneurship from Babson College.


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