Tag: physician scheduling

Doctors Against Data Entry: Exploring Systems To Beat Physician Burnout

By Suvas Vajracharya, Ph.D., founder and CEO, Lightning Bolt Solutions.

Suvas Vajracharya

A staggering 96 percent of physicians are reporting that the amount of time they spend on data input has increased in the last 10 years, and 86 percent agree it’s robbing them of joy in their jobs, according to a recent survey by Geneia, a healthcare data analytics firm.

This report won’t come as news to the millions of physicians spending huge chunks of their days on clerical and administrative work, instead of the patient work for which they’ve studied and practiced many long years.

For healthcare leaders, it’s another indicator that despite a recent dip in physician burnout reported by the American Medical Association, there’s still work to be done. Eighty percent of respondents to Geneia’s survey indicated that they are personally at risk for burnout at some point in their career.

But it also presents an enormous opportunity, as the report reveals reducing data entry can be a crucial (and pretty realistic, given modern technology) step in retaining key physicians, as well as increasing operational accuracy and efficiency. Let’s get physicians away from data entry and back to practicing top of license.

What’s behind increased data entry requirements?

Before we look at solutions to reduce the data entry burden on physicians, it’s critical to know where the demand is coming from. Multiple factors contribute to this problem, including:

The ubiquity of EHR systems

The professed goal of EHR systems was to give physicians access to vital patient data and streamline billing and coding processes. All too often, however, doctors find themselves bogged down by data entry instead of caring for their patients. To save time, many physicians copy and paste clinical documentation from one record to the next, providing more opportunity for dangerous inaccuracies to slip into patient files.

Lack of integration

Healthcare providers today use multiple different systems to coordinate care, and more often than not, those systems don’t talk to each other. Building integrations between these systems takes a lot of time and resources, and it is especially taxing on IT teams already working through huge backlogs. In the meantime, who’s responsible for ensuring the right data goes into all the applicable systems? Overtired physicians who’d rather be doing anything else.

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Health IT Startup: Lightning Bolt

Lightning Bolt SolutionsLightning Bolt invests heavily in research and software development to solve complex problems in the area of medical staff scheduling.

Elevator pitch

Lightning Bolt is the leading provider of automated physician scheduling for hospitals around the world. The company manages more than 3 million physician hours each month, helping to create shift schedules that promote work-life balance, productivity and patient safety.

Product/service description

Lightning Bolt’s cloud-based scheduling platform helps hospitals create dynamic staff schedules with a few clicks, automatically optimizing hundreds of complex scheduling rules. Physicians are able to request time-off and shift changes through the platform, creating transparency and a fair system that balances staff needs. The system also includes HIPAA-compliant messaging and detailed analytics.

Origin story

Working as a staff scientist at the Los Alamos National Laboratory to schedule massively parallel supercomputers in 1998, Lightning Bolt founder Suvas Vajracharya, Ph.D. was approached by a high school friend, a doctor, for help with a big frustration. The doctor noticed that the seemingly simple task of creating call schedules for his group was deceptively complex, time consuming, and often proved an inaccurate science where equitable distribution of staffing resources, or the honoring of individual physician requests, would often conflict or simply could not be met.

Suvas saw that his own technology experience with scheduling supercomputers could provide the foundation for creating an elegant, easy to use solution to solve the inherent complexities in medical staff scheduling. Both supercomputing and medical staff scheduling share fundamental requirements, including the need to distribute tasks equally and efficiently in the presence of complex and often changing rules with varying priorities. Within a few months, Suvas developed a prototype scheduling system to tackle his friend’s challenging problem and Lightning Bolt was born.

Marketing/promotion strategy

The company’s growth has largely been through word-of-mouth between physician executives and hospital operations leaders who have discovered the software and become loyal customers. Lightning Bolt also attends several industry events each year, including HIMSS, MGMA and RSNA.

Market opportunity

The vast majority of physician scheduling is still done manually today at America’s 5,700 hospitals. There are emerging players in the space of automated scheduling but nowhere near as established as Lightning Bolt. The company is part of a growing sector of hospital operations technology, including companies such as Silversheet, Modio Health, HealthLoop and AnalyticsMD.

How does your company differentiate itself from the competition

Lightning Bolt is the only platform that considers significant and complex relationships to auto-generate the best possible schedules for large medical organizations. Also, they are the only scheduling system that provides transparency across a healthcare workforce. Since manual scheduling using spreadsheets or paper is the largest competitor, Lightning Bolt’s biggest differentiators tend to be time and efficiency. In one case study, iNDIGO Health Partners generated a $38M ROI over 5 years by switching from manual to automated scheduling with Lightning Bolt.

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