There is probably not one person in the world who didn’t hope that business would be back to usual following the worst of the pandemic. We dare say healthcare providers hoped that 2022 would be the turning point, leading into a breather year.
Unfortunately, increased patient demand and constantly changing safety precautions have led many pediatric practices to lose employees; instead of relief, a “twindemic” arose. Already overworked staff members have been trying to balance an increase in workload with occupational burnout. In fact, a survey from December 2021 revealed that 60 percent of pediatricians are experiencing at least one dimension of burnout. It begs the question: Is this the new normal?
It seems to be — at least for the time being — that the new normal is an ever-pivoting landscape. For your pediatric practice to manage the constant changes in healthcare, you may need to consider a new business model. Doing so can improve the overall well-being of your practice as well as the physical and mental health of your team. Rather than adding to your to-do list, virtual care solutions can shoulder some of the burden. In this blog, we’ll explore three strategies for working smarter, not harder when overworked and understaffed.
How to Work Smarter, Not Harder with Virtual Solutions
As you continue to see COVID-19 cases, the flu is unrelenting, too. Are you wondering how to reduce the tension of this so-called “twindemic”? Anytime Pediatrics can help with virtual solutions. We’ve got suggestions on how staffing, virtual visits, and an effective after-hours service can decrease your stress.
Staffing shortages are rampant and have infiltrated every industry, including medicine. It is estimated that one in four clinicians in the United States has considered leaving healthcare as a result of the unrelenting workload. You may not be able to solve the staffing shortage, but you can maximize the efficiency of your current staff. Anytime Pediatrics offers online content and tools that you can share with your patients to assist with education and answer frequently asked questions, thus reducing the high call volumes your staff encounters on a daily basis.
When there are more patients to see than there are openings in your schedule, this only adds to your stress. Our platform offers a telemedicine workflow that will grant your practice the freedom to focus on the needs of in-office patients. We also help you network with local healthcare professionals who can see your patients for you when your schedule does not allow add-on visits. These experienced nurses allow you to continue providing quality patient care and lessen the pressure on your staff.
The prevalence of telemedicine increased significantly during the pandemic. Over time, telehealth has proven to streamline patient care because it’s more convenient for patients, parents, and providers. If you’re not utilizing virtual visits in your practice, it’s time to consider doing so. And if you’ve already implemented a telehealth system, you might expand your virtual services to walk-in or after-hours visits. Telemedicine can supplement your current schedule availability, and it offers flexibility to the families you serve.
Your patients can continue to receive uninterrupted care during viral surges, such as influenza, RSV, and COVID-19, when there are high call volumes and an increased need for patient evaluations. It’s also important to mention that as mental health crises in children rise, so has the need for frequent evaluation and treatment. Telemedicine allows you to offer mental health video visits, during which you can make medication adjustments, therapy referrals, and follow-up appointments easily accessible to your young patients and their parents. You can also “see” these patients in their homes for better assessment.
Traditional medical exchanges often mean that the on-call provider is inundated with patient concerns throughout the night. Sometimes after-hours calls are waiting for you when you arrive at the office the following morning, pushing off your daily duties as you return urgent call backs. This increase in call back times can even lead to parents prematurely taking their children to the emergency room. However, a practical after-hours service reduces the calls you receive by at least 20 percent, thereby decreasing unnecessary emergency room visits.
Anytime After-Hours is an effective service that provides you the opportunity for respite when you are out of the office. Staffed by experienced pediatric or emergency room nurses who follow Schmitt-Thompson Protocols, our platform offers your patients and their parents appropriate reassurance and consistent medical advice. If needed, the triage nurses can route patients to the physician on-call or schedule them for a next-day virtual visit. Your patients receive quality patient care while you get the rest you need.
Workflow Goals for 2023
Now is the time to consider reevaluating your current office processes and protocols. If certain systems are not working for you, your staff, and your patients, updates can help you streamline services and optimize virtual visits. These changes will decrease the amount of time you spend working when out of the office, reducing the likelihood of occupational burnout. In addition, you can support the mental health of your team by incorporating wellness into staff initiatives, meetings, and workflow.
By implementing these strategies, you and your team will be able to navigate the continued staffing shortages and increased patient care needs more efficiently and compassionately. For information on how Anytime Pediatrics can assist you in achieving these goals, contact us today to request a consultation!