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Sustainable employee well-being ideas for your medical practice

Fighting burnout requires a multi-faceted combination of technology, optimization, and work-life balance.

helping medical staff establish well-being best practices and fight burnout

At a Glance

  • Prioritizing employee well-being is crucial to reduce burnout in healthcare, and doing so enhances workplace satisfaction, patient care, and overall resilience.
  • Implementing technology, like automated billing software and telehealth, not only improves the patient experience but also alleviates administrative stress for healthcare workers.
  • Creating a good work-life balance through flexible work arrangements, workload management, and well-being programs is essential for sustaining a healthcare workforce and preventing burnout.

With burnout in the medical field showing no sign of slowing down, it’s more important than ever that independent practice owners create long-term sustainable employee well-being solutions for their care teams.

By centering employee well-being in your operations, you can address burnout while fostering improved workplace satisfaction and patient care. This focus, coupled with the importance of self-care and workflow updates, cultivates a resilient healthcare culture that also diminishes burnout's impact.

Employee burnout in the medical field 

Working in healthcare has always been demanding, but in recent years the industry strain has pushed professionals to their breaking point. The demanding hours, physician shortage, inherent stress, and the mental toll of treating struggling patients all contribute to the rise in healthcare burnout. 

  1. Exhaustion and energy depletion 
  2. Disconnect from a role or position 
  3. Increasing negativity and cynicism 

These feelings can reduce workplace efficiency and lead to overall dissatisfaction among medical staff and patients. Building a culture that prioritizes well-being for staff and patients and promotes a sustainable workflow can improve medical practice productivity.

Preventing burnout before it takes hold is much easier than addressing it after it has affected healthcare staff morale. Let’s explore some of the best ways for medical practices to help reduce employee burnout and establish a sustainable workplace environment that cares for employees and patients alike.

Ways for private practices to reduce employee burnout

Discover ways to support staff who feel burned out and create a sustainable workplace environment. 

Upgrade your billing software 

Even the most minor changes can significantly impact employee well-being and the sustainability of a medical office. Outdated technology that constantly crashes or bugs out will lead to unnecessary and time-consuming billing performed by clinicians and administrative staff. This cuts down on their already limited time to connect with patients and engage in meaningful face-to-face time. 

Constant repetitive documentation also diminishes the abilities of these highly trained professionals and correlates to a low sense of personal accomplishment at work versus other tasks. Streamlining billing processes and automating these time-consuming tasks will enable employees to focus on more fulfilling jobs and patient interactions.

Upgrading billing software that automates the process for employees also helps decrease human errors or necessary redos. Improving billing and upgrading technology helps reduce the administrative burden on employees and frees time for more meaningful tasks.

Improve the patient experience

Nothing creates more stress for an employee than a disgruntled patient. By improving the experience for the patient and optimizing the patient journey, you can directly reduce stress for your front-line workers. In addition, improving the patient experience helps reduce stress for both office and administrative staff as well.

Many medical offices have begun offering telehealth solutions for patients to reduce the number of people in the practice. Telehealth and telemedicine can offer patients a more comfortable and secure medical experience as they no longer worry about travel times and can receive checkups in their homes.

Proper appointment management software helps ease the administrative burden and ensures a more efficient flow for scheduling. With a dedicated appointment scheduling program, missed appointments and improperly scheduled time slots become a thing of the past. Reducing wait times and rescheduling headaches helps improve the patient experience and relieve employee stressors.

Optimize employee work-life balance

Ensuring employees have a structured work-life balance is pivotal to preventing and addressing burnout. Medical workers can experience long days and demanding schedules, so ensuring they take time for themselves and spend their off hours away from the job will help maintain their mental health. Here are some tips on how best to help employees manage their work-life balance.

Allow flexible work arrangements

For individual medical practices, offering remote work is a great way to ensure employees can accomplish their duties without being overworked. Work-from-home days each week can help employees reset and get productive in their own environment.

If working from home isn't an option, providing a flexible work environment in-office can also help cut back on burnout. Designated quiet workspaces or calm areas in which employees focus can help reduce workplace stress and optimize productivity. Flexibility benefits patients, too.

Implement workload management protocols

Employees in medical fields often have overwhelming schedules and might be unaware they’re overworking. Offering a workload management protocol that assesses workload distribution allows an outside perspective to determine whether an employee is overworking and needs relief.

Regular assessments of what employees are doing will help management in medical practices understand how work is distributed. This allows you to see who is being overworked by the system and the demands of the medical industry. By assessing employee workload distribution, you can redistribute the work to reduce burnout in overworked individuals.

Set up employee well-being programs

Many medical practices have begun to implement health and well-being programs for their employees to reduce workplace stress and burnout. By offering counseling and mental health programs for employees, medical practices can help establish a sustainable work environment to address and combat burnout before it takes a toll on their staff.

You can offer counseling in-office or with an external counseling program.

Create a supportive organizational culture

Offering resources to help employees manage stress and mental well-being is a fantastic way to reduce medical worker burnout — but, ultimately, cultural change happens at the administrative level.

Creating a supportive workplace environment that focuses on employee well-being and recognition will help reduce burnout in the early stages before work-life intervention is necessary. Practice owners should acknowledge exceptional performance and celebrate employee milestones/achievements. Focus on commemorating accomplishments.

A positive workplace culture also encourages employee collaboration and teamwork. Many modern workplaces emphasize individual tasks, which can create a competitive culture, leading to employees overworking themselves to advance. Medical practices can improve organizational culture and workplace well-being by highlighting teamwork and collaborative achievements.

Training leaders in healthy team building integrates burnout prevention into the job. Effective communication between leadership and staff establishes a culture of trust that emphasizes well-being and mitigates burnout.

Provide opportunities for professional growth

Stagnation breeds carelessness. Without room to grow, nurses and other critical medical support staff can become complacent, and overall productivity can slow. Providing opportunities for employees to advance their education via training programs and skill workshops can help improve company culture and workplace well-being. Managers who want to help care teams develop their skills should foster an environment of growth for medical practices.

Career advancement opportunities inspire employees to work hard and learn more. When there is an end goal and associated financial rewards, the drive to develop increases. Here are some common ways medical practices can provide opportunities for professional growth and promote inspiration rather than stagnation:

  • Encourage continuing education and training
  • Support and fund attendance at conferences and workshops 
  • Provide career advancement opportunities
  • Promote cross-departmental teamwork

By creating a workplace that emphasizes advancement and offers tangible benefits at the end of the day, medical practices can help their professionals grow in their position and reduce career burnout. 

Effective workflow and task management

Medical practices continually evolve as the industry changes. A workflow that worked last year might not be optimal for this year’s demands. Changes in patient care, healthcare policies, telehealth services, and employee needs will change how you handle task management. Ensuring well-optimized workflow and task management will reduce employee burnout and increase workplace sustainability. 

Offering process improvement initiatives will help workspaces identify bottlenecks and inefficiencies in the workflow. Streamlining administrative tasks like paperwork and billing processes will create a more optimized workflow, allowing for more time with patients.

Medical workspaces can use technology to improve workflow efficiency and reduce pain points in task management. Encourage teamwork and work distribution so that no one team member is overloaded and subject to burnout.

Creating a sustainable work culture that prioritizes employee longevity and reduces medical burnout falls on the shoulders of management and leadership. Workplace sustainability can be achieved through patient experiences, improved workplace technologies, optimized task management, an emphasis on self-care, and proper leadership training. 

Establishing a multi-pronged and comprehensive approach to tackling employee workplace burnout takes many strategies to eliminate medical burnout effectively. By building a workplace that emphasizes well-being, burnout is reduced, workflows are improved, and patient satisfaction increases. Sustainable workplaces promote productive employees and cultures that thrive.

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Andrea Curry, head of editorial at The Intake

Andrea Curry is an award-winning journalist with over 15 years of storytelling under her belt. She has won multiple awards for her work and is now the head of editorial at The Intake, where she puts her passion for helping independent healthcare practices into action.

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