Clinical Blog
Published: March 17, 2023

Reducing Clinician Burnout: The Power of Using Digital Tools Effectively

It’s no secret that health systems are feeling strained, with 47% of physicians experiencing symptoms of clinician burnout.1 An overwhelming amount of clinical data, jam-packed days with little time to connect with patients, and a lengthy list of responsibilities are leaving healthcare professionals feeling drained.

Clinician exhaustion can lead to reduced job satisfaction, increased turnover, and a decrease in the quality of care provided to patients. But burnout isn’t only harmful to teams — it can also cause financial strain on health systems. According to a study by the Annals of Internal Medicine, clinician exhaustion accumulates approximately $4.6 billion in costs due to turnover and reduced clinic hours.2

But when health systems use digital tools the right way, they can reduce the risk of clinician burnout and increase patient care coordination.

More efficient decision-making, more quality time with patients

According to ZS’s 2023 Future of Health Survey, 71% of U.S. physicians report feeling overwhelmed by the amount of clinical data available to them.3 Clinicians don’t need more data at their fingertips — they need insights that enable quick and well-informed decisions. An evidence-based and clinically evaluated digital therapeutic collects data, translates it into medically actionable insights, then serves those insights to clinicians to help them streamline decision-making. So while free-flowing data can contribute to clinician burnout, medically actionable insights enable physicians to triage faster, helping them keep patients out of the ER.

“There has to be trust by the providers that the data they see is accurate and that we’re going to be able to surface insights that they can trust,” Carlos Nunez, M.D., chief medical officer at ResMed, stated during Propeller’s webinar on navigating the changing healthcare landscape. “If we rely on every provider to comb through data, they’re never going to get any value or benefit from a digital health future.”

With the right insights at the right time, physicians can identify which patients need to come into the office versus those who can continue to self-manage at home. And by spending less time deciphering data, physicians can spend more time connecting with patients, learning about their pain points, and coaching them on sustainable behavior changes.

Perform administrative tasks without additional logins

‘Login fatigue’ — the need to sign in and out of multiple platforms and manage different usernames and passwords throughout the day — is an often-cited contributor to clinician burnout because it’s, well, fatigue-inducing.

“Nurses, doctors, therapists, lab techs, pharmacists — basically, everyone who works in the field — are all exhausted,” said Joel Klein, MD, senior vice president and CIO of Baltimore-based University of Maryland Medical System, speaking to Becker’s Health IT. “We have to find ways to make the computer part of their day less taxing — any less friction is an improvement.”4

EHR integrations can reduce the risk of login fatigue: When digital tools integrate with EHRs, there’s one less login to remember and type into an operating system. By integrating these programs, teams can seamlessly perform administrative tasks — such as placing orders, reviewing data, and monitoring patient care — without signing in and out of various platforms.

Per Medscape’s 2023 Pulmonologist Lifestyle, Happiness, and Burnout Report, the leading factor of burnout among pulmonologists is bureaucratic tasks, such as charting and EHR documentation.5 While EHRs aren’t going anywhere, EHR integrations can help reduce the friction associated with bureaucratic tasks by speeding up clinical workflows and increasing the amount of work accomplished within the EHR. Health systems that integrate the Propeller Digital Therapeutic Platform into their EHR are able to complete enrollment in just two minutes — a 75% to 80% reduction in time compared to historic workflows.6 That means less time spent signing in and out of platforms and less brain power spent trying to remember long — and often complex — passwords.

Enable clinical staff to practice at the top of their licenses

Each healthcare professional in an organization has specialized training…but limited time. When clinical staff practice at the top of their license, patients can receive prompt, high-quality care from various team members, giving physicians more time to spend with the patients who need them most.

The problem, however, is determining which teams should oversee which tasks. That’s where digital therapeutics come in. By clearly defining workload boundaries, digital therapeutics can help ensure that the right team is allocating their time to the right kind of work.

“Our focus should be on designing systems that allow different professionals with different levels of training to collaborate with others and leverage their distinct expertise to contribute meaningfully to patient care,” wrote President and CEO of SCAN Group & Health Plan Sachin H. Jain, MD, MBA, in his Forbes article, ‘Practicing At The Top Of Your License’ And The ‘Great’ American Healthcare Labor Arbitrage.7

In addition to outlining administrative tasks that can be entrusted to other teams, digital therapeutics also synthesize data into medically actionable insights. With these insights, healthcare professionals other than physicians — such as physician assistants and nurse practitioners — can make clinical decisions, further reducing physician workloads.

Is your healthcare team feeling strained? The Propeller Digital Therapeutic Platform can reduce clinician burnout across your health system. Learn more now.

1 Medscape, Physician Burnout & Depression Report 2022: Stress, Anxiety, and Anger
2 Girard, D. E., Nardone, D. A., Hickam, D. H., &; Goldfarb, T. (2019). Estimating the attributable cost of physician burnout in the United States. Annals of Internal Medicine
3 ZS’s Future of Health Survey Report: Future of Healthcare. (2023).
4 Bruce, G. (n.d.). Top 5 health it issues, according to CIOs. Becker’s Hospital Review.
5 Medscape Pulmonologist Lifestyle, happiness, & burnout report 2023: Contentment amid stress. (2023).
6 Dignity Health and Propeller Health bring asthma and COPD digital inhaler data into EHR. (2022).
7Jain, S. H. (2022). ‘Practicing at the top of Your License’ and the ‘great’ American healthcare labor arbitrage. Forbes.

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