Battling Physician Burnout with Collaborative Care

Sussan Nwogwugwu

By Sussan Nwogwugwu, DNP, PMHNP, Clinical Leader, Done.

Physician burnout, characterized by exhaustion, compassion fatigue and feelings of inadequacy, not only affects physicians; it also affects their care quality, which ultimately compromises patient well-being.

Collaborative care benefits physicians – and patients – alike.

Primary physician burnout by the numbers

The American Medical Association said that burnout symptoms affected almost 63% of physicians in 2021, a significant increase from the previous year. 

Primary causes of burnout include “the practice of clinical medicine… your specific job… having a life… the conditioning of our medical education… and leadership skills of…immediate supervisors,” according to the AAFPA collaborative care model can remedy burnout.

The benefits of collaborative care says a collaborative care team “is led by a primary care provider and includes behavioral health care managers, psychiatrists and… other mental health professionals… The team implements a measurement-guided care plan based on evidence-based practice guidelines and focuses particular attention on patients not meeting their clinical goals.”

In addition to decreasing clinical workloads, this collaboration also leads to improved feelings of job satisfaction. Further, clinicians experience lower levels of isolation, and a collaborative environment enables knowledge-sharing, ultimately enabling professional growth.

In addition to benefiting clinicians, collaborative care benefits mental health patients by improving access to holistic, specialized care. For patients with chronic conditions, it is especially advantageous.

Components of comprehensive care

Comprehensive care, according to AAFP, is “prevention and management of multiple physical and emotional health problems of a patient over a period of time...”

Its three pillars include impact analysis; evidence-based interventions; and an inclusive patient approach incorporating frequent reviews. Comprehensive care that’s baked into a collaborative care model helps enhance clinician well-being and reduce the burden on primary care providers. It also benefits patients who receive care under this model.

Impact analysis

For providers, impact analysis offers insights into treatment efficacy, which is useful for guiding interventions. These insights uncover areas for improvement and appropriate resource allocation. They also track and adjust interventions when necessary. All of these benefits help to reduce physicians’ burden and feelings of burnout.

Because physicians get an in-depth understanding of their patients’ needs and treatment responses, patients also experience benefits of impact analysis; they are positioned to make more informed decisions about their options for treatment and overall health.

Evidence-based interventions (EBI) 

When implemented, EBIs are evidence-based “practices or programs… effective at producing results and improving outcomes,” according to the California Department of Education

Providers can utilize resources more efficiently in response to data that shows what’s working and what’s not. Data compiled from telehealth platforms, clinical decision support systems and mobile apps, for example, helps physicians make better-informed decisions on their patients’ behalf. 

Via the utilization of EBI, patients receive high-quality, proven care, resulting in better outcomes.

An inclusive patient approach with frequent reviews

Multidisciplinary providers who contribute to patient care see reduced burnout and improved communication among the care team.

The benefit to patients of an inclusive approach is personalized care and ongoing adjustments to the care plan based on their progress and feedback. Patients are empowered, too, via technologies that provide key health metrics and symptoms, which helps to ensure adherence to plans and empowers the patient to take control of their own health care. 

The “why” of value-based care

Value-based care, according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, is “designed to focus on quality of care, provider performance and the patient experience. The ‘value’…(is) what an individual values most.” 

The fee-for-service model, which many providers are moving away from, incentivizes quantity over quality. The result: skyrocketing and unsustainable healthcare costs; unnecessary procedures; and fragmented care. 

That’s why medicine is shifting to a model of value-based care, with technology at the forefront. EHRs and data analytics tools help clinicians refine patient care and minimize the tasks that ultimately result in burnout. Data analytics identify trends by analyzing patient outcomes that clinicians can utilize to develop effective treatment plans with personalized care. Communication and coordination is streamlined; via EHRs, clinicians have access to the latest patient information, which reduces errors and enhances care continuity.

Another critical component of value-based care is telemedicine, which makes it easier for patients to receive care in the comfort of their own homes. 

Value based care: The marriage of collaborative and comprehensive care

Technology as a primary component of both collaborative and comprehensive care improves treatment outcomes, enhances the patient experience and maximizes the use of resources.

Working together, these models improve population health, foster ongoing improvement and maximize value-based goals, ultimately reducing the levels of physician burnout.

Write a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *