For every hour a physician spends with a patient, two hours are spent doing administrative work – a stat frequently cited in the healthcare industry. But what does this actually mean? I’ve witnessed physician burnout first hand in healthcare, as an orthopedic surgeon and now as a technology partner to many large healthcare systems.
At hospitals across the country, when many types of physicians start a shift at a hospital, they receive sign out from the previous shift, which typically includes a verbal report and stacks of handwritten notes. After studying the notes, they have to piece together the care team for each patient — figuring out which nurses are on duty and assigned to their patients, and any specialists that need to be involved.
This level of manual coordination is absurd with all the technology we have available to us. This is what gets me so excited about what we do at TigerConnect, we are truly solving a very acute problem in healthcare by increasing access to resources and information at the point of care. And we are doing this all through technology that is commonly used in our everyday life — text messaging, video and voice. Let’s look at 10 ways TigerConnect can relieve physician burnout rather than add to it:
1. Remove Friction in Clinical Communication – When TigerConnect is used enterprise-wide, it becomes a central directory, with easy access to your entire healthcare network, all from your smartphone. Simply put — significant friction is removed in the coordination of care. TigerConnect becomes the one-source of truth for all the contacts a physician needs to communicate with in order to provide the best care for their patients.
2. Easily Identify and Communicate with Specialists – With TigerConnect, a physician is able to easily select the on-call specialist they want to interact with, even without knowing the actual person they are trying to reach. In addition, schedule integrations ensure the right on-call specialist is associated with the right role at the right time.
3. Lose the Pager – In many hospitals today, nurses, physicians, and ancillary staff still carry pagers. Unfortunately, this typically means 4-digit call back numbers with no context as to who is paging or the level of urgency. With so little context it’s nearly impossible to triage messages. Does one page mean a patient just needs a Tylenol or is it something more serious? When the entire care team is on the same TigerConnect system, more context can be provided through secure text message and often completely resolved, eliminating the need for a pager.
4. Less of an Interruption – For those times when a physician is on-call, TigerConnect is much less of an interruption. Rather than receiving a page and having to call back the hospital, the hospital team can text their question and include patient medical records and photographs if necessary. Most questions can be resolved over secure text, and if a phone call is needed for deeper discussion, it’s easy enough to initiate a call or video chat from within the app.
5. Easier to Manage On-Call Schedules – If you are an on-call specialist you want to be as helpful and easy to work with as possible so fellow physicians will consult you again. But when you’re not on call, you don’t want to be bothered. TigerConnect automates the process of logging users in and out of a role by syncing up with the most popular scheduling systems and can even work using Excel spreadsheets. The handy calendar view also lets physicians see schedules up to four weeks out.
6. Role Hand-Offs in Just a Few Taps – For physicians that wear multiple hats, the ability to designate another colleague as the person responsible for their on-call duty when they need to be with a patient is a huge help. This ensures everyone else in the hospital knows who’s on duty.
7. Let Others Know Your Availability – Another handy feature is the do-not-disturb notification that can be set by a physician in the event he or she is tied up with a patient and unavailable. The physician can also update their status with a note of why they are unavailable such as “in surgery until 3 p.m.” They can also set up forwarding for any messages that might come in, and escalation can be set up at the administrator level for specific roles to ensure any urgent messages that come in do not go unanswered.
8. Streamline Communication with the Pharmacist – Instead of the constant round of call-back requests from the pharmacist to clarify orders, TigerConnect allows physicians to receive text messages directly from the pharmacist. This allows them to more easily approve or deny a refill request or clarify an order.
9. Easily Communicate with Medical Records – Instead of the constant calls from medical records flagging missing codes that are needed for insurance reimbursements, physicians can leverage TigerConnect to more easily clear up discrepancies and missing information.
10. Patient Follow-Up Post-Discharge – With only 49 percent of patients remembering physician instructions after they leave the hospital, according to a study published in PLOS One, it’s more likely than not that a patient will have questions following discharge. With TigerConnect, staff can easily receive status updates from the patient’s primary care provider or home health staff. They can also leverage TigerConnect Patient Engagement, our patient-facing, virtual care messaging capability, to connect with the patient directly after a procedure, clarifying post-op instructions, seeing patient photos, and more.
Learn How You Can Close Dangerous Communication Gaps
Will O’Connor, M.D. is TigerConnect’s Chief Medical Information Officer. He’s an industry-known physician executive with more than 20 years of healthcare experience focused on operations, strategic planning, consulting, client delivery, and thought leadership across the healthcare industry.
As an orthopedic surgeon, Dr. O’Connor has significant provider experience as well as deep commercial experience having worked for multiple companies including McKesson, Allscripts/Eclipsys, and PriceWaterhouseCoopers. He specializes in assisting large health systems, academic medical centers, community hospitals, and payers leverage healthcare information technology and operational improvements to advance their clinical and financial outcomes.
Additional experience includes EHR and HIE implementations, clinical communication and collaboration, clinician adoption, analytics, clinical decision support, provider operational analysis, and clinical process redesign.