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The Weight of the Physician’s Workplace: How to Know When It’s Time to Hire Help
“Start every day with a blank slate.” That’s what the motivational posters tell us to do, right? But that is much easier said than done—especially in the ever-evolving, chaotic worlds of clinicians. Instead, you’re carrying over at least some of yesterday’s to-do list—and let’s be honest, some of yesterday’s stress too—simply because there isn’t enough time to get it all done.
If you’re like many clinicians, this constant struggle has you looking for a better way to check off all your boxes each day while keeping your sanity in check.
That’s a good thing, according to global HR company Monster. In their recent article “5 Signs that It’s Time to Hire for Your Small Business,” Monster stresses the importance of assessing your needs often and acting in a timely manner before it’s too late. “Knowing when it’s time to hire in order to meet business needs is not easy, but it’s critical to your success,” the article states.
If the thought of hiring help has crossed your mind, consider the list of operational triggers below. If you find yourself nodding along, it just might be time to bring in help, either by adding staff or—like a growing number of physicians—using a Virtual Medical Scribe.
Triggers Telling You It’s Time to Act
- You’re spending as much or more time documenting patient encounters as you do with the patient themselves. As we discussed in our post “Documentation and the Deterioration of Doctors’ Work Life Balance,” the amount of time clinicians are spending just to keep up with documentation demands is at an all-time high. We also discussed the studies being done that pinpoint the problem—nearly double the amount of a clinician’s time is spent documenting the visit compared to the actual face-to-face encounter. Because of this, it’s imperative to evaluate the many tasks at hand and delegate them properly for optimum productivity. “You may find that you or your higher-paid employees are spending a lot of time on junior-level tasks,” the Monster article explains. “If these high-value employees—possibly even yourself—are doing administrative tasks that really should be handed off to someone else, it’s probably time to hire.”
- You’re spending valuable time correcting mistakes or filling in gaps from your transcription service. It is possible that your transcription service may be working against you. If you factor in the time you spend following up on their work and correcting their mistakes, you may find your current transcription services aren’t actually paying off like you had hoped. Everything from the transcriptionist’s lack of medical knowledge, to misspelled equipment and medication names, ultimately adds up to extra time and effort from you. In her article “The Pros and Cons of Starting a Medical Transcription Business” Alyssa Gregory says that many transcriptionists lack a functional understanding of basic medical terms. “It’s not enough to be a proficient typist with good grammar and research skills,” she states. “You’ll need to be able to understand the lingo to interpret some of the reports.”
- You’re forced to replace your in-person scribe (again). Just when you were getting things the way you like them with your in-person medical scribe, the working relationship is over—for whatever reason—and you’re back at square one again. It’s a frustrating feeling, to say the least, and it’s also quite common due to the high level of turnover that comes with in-person scribes, which is one of the key reasons Virtual Medical Scribes have become so popular.
- You’re always running behind due to documentation demands. When it comes to a clinician running behind, the domino effect of consequences is almost always guaranteed. It starts with a flustered physician and moves into a scrambling support staff before finishing off with a frustrated patient. While waiting for a clinician may seem inevitable in today’s landscape, what patients don’t understand is that the reason typically boils down to one common denominator: documentation demands. From the patient’s perspective, their time is being wasted—and often, they’re left feeling like a low priority on the physician’s never-ending list. If you find yourself continuously falling behind, hiring help may pay dividends when it comes to customer service. According to Monster, “One of the most obvious signs that it’s time to hire is when your level of customer service begins to falter. If clients start calling you about missed deadlines or incomplete tasks, it could be a sign that your team is stretched to the max. Not hiring adequate staff, if it’s gotten to this point, can damage your company’s reputation or result in employee burnout.”
With so much piled onto clinicians’ plates, it’s simply not possible to head home at the end of every day without taking the mental and physical load with you. Perhaps you feel like you can never quite cross everything off your to-do list, or maybe you’re being pulled in a hundred directions as you put out fire after fire. Maybe the weight on your shoulders has reached an unbearable amount. Or, it could be that burnout has taken hold and won’t loosen its grip.
Whatever obstacles you’re facing, it’s comforting to know that with the right help, your ability to start each day with a blank slate can be an attainable goal once again.
Physicians Angels is the industry’s first virtual scribe company, providing real-time documentation directly into the physician’s EMR, along with Virtual Back Office services. Our services save the physician an average of 10 hours per week, thereby improving patient throughput and contributing to a better work/life balance for the physician and office staff. To learn more, visit physiciansangels.com or contact us.