Healthfevereiro 20, 2024

How digital transformation can help address clinician burnout

As burnout continues to afflict the world’s clinicians, IT leaders are stepping up with a fresh commitment to digital transformation.

The well-being and mental health of clinicians is the responsibility of all stakeholders, and IT leaders have a unique opportunity to support them during challenging times.

The World Health Organization (WHO) found that at least one out of every four healthcare workers in 2022 reported symptoms of anxiety, depression, and burnout. Burnout is a particular challenge, affecting an estimated 41% to 52% of healthcare workers — with higher risk found among women, young people, and parents of dependent children. But IT leadership can turn this into an opportunity today — investing to help increase efficiency and reduce administrative burden.

Success will require tools and strategies that are optimized for both clinicians and patients and seamlessly integrated into provider workflows across all settings.

The promise of professional well-being starts with human centered design and the learning organization

A systems approach can be a useful tool for IT leaders addressing clinician burnout. The book, Taking Action Against Clinician Burnout: A Systems Approach to Professional Well-Being, presents a framework that stresses human-centered design and the importance of learning at the organizational level — two core perspectives that align with the IT leaders’ potential role in reducing administrative burnout through modernization of clinical workflows. 

Human centered design is foundational to clinician health

Work systems should align with the needs of clinicians to ensure they are healthy, usable, and safe.

Human centered design requires the involvement and participation of clinicians from design, to technology implementation, to IT governance — incorporating their inputs in a systemic work system redesign. In the IT sphere, this means involving care teams at all levels in evaluating solutions and anticipating the effects on the work system as a whole — individuals, technology, tasks, as well as the organizational and physical work environments. 

Learning health care systems are paramount in addressing burnout

Learning organizations should dedicate themselves to improving healthcare work experiences and work systems for clinicians while acknowledging impact on patient care.

These systems will work toward supporting clinicians’ work and enabling continuous learning and improvement. Progress will require data collection, measurement, and greater use of IT resources in managing the role of technology in reducing clinician burnout

The IT leadership pledge: Exploring responsibilities to address clinician burnout

The first step to creating systems that help reduce burnout is modernizing clinical workflows  to reduce administrative burden and increase efficiency. This step starts with implementing digital solutions that are intuitive for clinical users, support interoperability, and are well integrated across clinical and administrative settings. 

A commitment to relieving care team administrative burden

CIOs around the world have expressed their commitment to creating IT strategies that rise to the challenges of digital transformation. Recently, this commitment has extended to the modernization and streamlining of clinician workflows.

But, as the connection between clinician burnout and healthcare technology use has become clear, the administrative burden has come into the sights of dedicated IT leaders around the world. Mexico supported its clinicians early in the pandemic to implement chats that function on both mobile and laptop, as well as telepsychiatry and personnel support for IT backup. 

A guarantee of strategic consolidation

Years of investment in healthcare technology has left care organizations with a patchwork of solutions and integrations, which is further complicated by government mandated resources. This fragmented digital ecosystem is an opportunity for IT leaders to invest in consolidation strategies that ease the weight on overburdened clinicians.

Leaders should start by auditing tech investments and developing a strategic roadmap—one that prioritizes efficiency, interoperability, reduction of redundancy, and cost management, all in service of the clinician experience.

A promise to update IT governance structure

Governance and accountability structures directly influence decision making, which flows downhill to clinician engagement—a critical piece in creating efficient workflows and operationalizing new IT investment.

IT leaders need to be clear on which positions take responsibility for which decisions, what leadership teams look like, and should update structures and processes to meet this need. 

A dedication to engaging your care teams

Executive IT strategy cannot be a top-down exercise, especially with a commitment to addressing burnout.

Instead, it should connect to clinical operations, involving multidisciplinary teams in everything from equipment purchases to developing clinical pathways. This alignment requires involving clinical leadership and tapping clinician perspectives to create a digital strategy that not only reduces, but also prevents burnout. 

A responsibility to optimize your tools

To properly address burnout, your digital health strategy will need to respond to both patient and clinician demands.

By enabling patients to become deeper participants in their care, you’ll better support value-based care initiatives, patient education goals, and a clinician-centered digital health strategy. The information patients access should be clearly aligned with the materials clinicians are referencing in their work.

Addressing clinician burnout is an exercise in creating alignment across multiple platforms and stakeholders through strategic consolidation and refreshed IT governance. Start your pledge by prioritizing digital transformation opportunities that involve and acknowledge the clinician experience as a gateway to improved patient engagement and healthier organizations.

Learn how healthcare IT leaders can partner with clinical leaders in the whitepaper “Creating a digital foundation to reduce clinician burnout”.

Download the whitepaper
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