How Remote Care Combats the Medical-Staff Burnout Crisis Telemedicine is helping to battle the post-pandemic medical staffing crisis.
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If one were to list professions requiring intensive care and attention to detail, medicine would sit near the top. Since medical mistakes could be a literal matter of life and death, the emphasis on detail and careful analysis in the field makes sense. But if doctors and healthcare professionals already grapple with mounting stress under normal circumstances, dealing with a major pandemic certainly did not help.
Over 60% of emergency and 53% of critical-care physicians reported feeling occupational burnout in 2021, and many specialist fields rank similarly in numbers. This stress has already pushed many out of medicine, as more than 1.7 million U.S. healthcare workers have left their jobs in the first half of 2022 alone.
Walking the healthcare tightrope
With 47% of healthcare professionals planning to exit the field by 2025, how can doctors and specialists carry the added strain to maintain consistent levels of care while mitigating the added stress? Tech healthcare developments can aid those left to bear the brunt of patient needs to maintain their sanity and business without compromising.
Before your mind wanders to robot doctors, the reality is that most of the genuinely impactful healthcare tech developments are rather mundane. Of course, groundbreaking advancements in treatment are consistently being created, but day-to-day operations are where Medtech development thrives. One such development addressing the pain points of everyday general practitioners and specialists is remote care and virtual-patient monitoring.
With an influx of patients from a global pandemic and dormant diseases re-emerging, it is no surprise that doctors and medical systems are reaching critical-care capacities faster than usual. Though such an influx would probably indicate an increase in business, reaching capacity levels could impede revenues and billable hours for specialists dealing with complex illnesses, as they must become more selective about which patients to see.
Reinventing healthcare models
Adopting remote treatment brings the most opportunities to reinvent healthcare business models to benefit patients, doctors and medical systems. So much so that Amazon has taken notice despite shutting down its urgent and primary care service, purchasing One Medical instead. But the Amazon-sized hole in evolving primary care can allow other companies and developers to step in.
Right now, the telemedicine care gaps cause patients in acute medical situations to rely on hypochondriac-friendly, panic-inducing websites like WebMD to self-diagnose. But avoiding a doctor's visit in favor of a Google search or an over-the-counter pill means patients may not be getting the proper care they require.
"We see that the more traditional health organizations are looking for ways to handle the influx of patients, and not only by hiring more physicians. Healthcare leaders have started looking into technological solutions that would help at scale," says Eitan Ron, Co-Founder, and CEO of Kahun, a startup that built an evidence-based clinical reasoning tool for physicians.
"One of the key elements in maximizing revenue via virtual care is providing general practitioners with all the information they need prior to a virtual session, which optimizes physician time, improves the overall quality of the visit, and allows them to see more patients."
This type of development is especially valuable outside of primary care, as gathering information virtually can expand the capacity of general practitioners to assist patients dealing with nuanced or chronic illnesses. Through pre-screening or "always on" patient monitoring tools, doctors can step up their purview in what symptoms they can mitigate and what illnesses they can help treat remotely.
For example, platforms like DreaMed Diabetes' Endo Digital enable physicians to optimize patients' insulin therapy remotely by using the company's proprietary algorithm to assess, adjust and approve treatment without an appointment. In rural areas where specialists are scarce, this kind of remote technology is a win-win for patients who cannot find proper in-person care and for practitioners who can now provide patients with expert analysis and care capabilities.
Remote health and telemedicine technologies come with a learning curve, and healthcare providers may be ambivalent about their efficacy and impacts on billable hours. But they are an incredible asset in any practitioner's toolbox to balance their business needs and the care necessary to treat patients properly. Telemedicine provides new opportunities for doctors to thrive in a crisis by maintaining or increasing their inflow of patients without increasing occupational stress while improving healthcare for all.