As expectations for higher quality health care have grown in recent years, so too has the burden placed upon physicians. Since the integration of the Triple Aim into health care, the emphasis on patient care has grown to meet the aims of enhancing patient experience, improving population health, and reducing costs. However, this has come at the expense of physicians, who report burnout and dissatisfaction.¹ Such was created the Quadruple Aim of health care, with the fourth aim being improving the work-life of health care professionals. With this idea in mind, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services have adopted the mindset of “Patients over Paperwork” in an attempt to help providers spend more time with their patients and less on administrative work. Certintell supports this with our commitment to providing telehealth services to improve the lives of patients and physicians, and meet the Quadruple Aim.
When surveyed, 87% of physicians reported the number one cause of their burnout was attributed to paperwork and administrative tasks. This burnout leads to loss of enthusiasm for work, feelings of cynicism and a low sense of personal accomplishment.¹ Before the Triple Aim can be met, physicians must first be satisfied with their jobs in order to provide high-quality care for patients. Therefore, targeting the Quadruple Aim in 2020 and improving the work-life of health care professionals is essential to the success of the health care industry.
As of 2019, CMS has already seen numerous benefits from adopting this physician satisfaction mentality. By 2021, the reforms taking place to decrease burnout and increase satisfaction are expected to save the health care industry 40 million hours and $5.7 billion.²
Telehealth is one tool physicians can use to reduce burnout and increase their job satisfaction. Among the many benefits of telehealth: more time to see patients, reduced readmissions, cost-effective care, expanded access to care and minimized travel. What are usual barriers for physicians in providing care are now significantly improved through the use of telehealth services.
More Time to See Patients: Telehealth shortens wait times for patients, leading to more time for care. On average, telehealth has been shown to decrease wait times by 15 minutes per visit.³ This improvement allows physicians to have additional time to see patients and make informed care decisions without feeling the pressure of having to move on to the next patient right away.
Reduced Readmissions: Patients using telehealth have been shown to have lower readmission rates than those using traditional health care measures. Hospitals have reported a 14% decrease in readmissions when they implement telehealth services.⁴ Less readmissions decreases the amount of paperwork and administrative work physicians need to do and frees up more time for patient care.
Cost-Effective Care: Telehealth services help decrease the cost of health care, making it easier for physicians to focus more on patients and less on money. Telehealth on average reduces the cost of care by $19-$121 per visit.⁵
Expanded Access to Care: Telehealth allows for those with less access to health care, specifically those in rural areas, to be reached remotely without having to go out of their way to find care. Easily connecting physician to patient without the hassle of finding a common location allows a wider network of patients to be reached in a more efficient manner.
Minimized Travel: With telehealth services, physicians can communicate and treat patients from the comfort of their own home. This means they do not have to travel significant distances to work or meet patients and instead can meet patients where they are through telehealth. Not having to travel gives the physician more time to spend actually helping patients and minimizes stress.
If your health center wants to improve the work-life of care teams, learn more about the process to implement telehealth.
¹ Bodenheimer, Thomas. “From Triple to Quadruple Aim: Care of the Patient Requires Care of the Provider.” Annals of Family Medicine, www.annfammed.org/content/12/6/573.full#sec-2.
² “CMS Seeks Public Input on Patients over Paperwork Initiative to Further Reduce Administrative, Regulatory Burden to Lower Healthcare Costs.” CMS, 6 June 2019, www.cms.gov/newsroom/press-releases/cms-seeks-public-input-patients-over-paperwork-initiative-further-reduce-administrative-regulatory.
³ Fairchild, Roseanne Moody, et al. “Telehealth Decreases Rural Emergency Department Wait Times for Behavioral Health Patients in a Group of Critical Access Hospitals.” Telemedicine Journal and e-Health : the Official Journal of the American Telemedicine Association, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 8 Feb. 2019, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30735100.
⁴ O’Connor, Melissa, et al. “Using Telehealth to Reduce All-Cause 30-Day Hospital Readmissions among Heart Failure Patients Receiving Skilled Home Health Services.” Applied Clinical Informatics, 20 Apr. 2016, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27437037.
⁵ Nord, Garrison. “On-Demand Synchronous Audio Video Telemedicine Visits Are Cost Effective.” The American Journal of Emergency Medicine, 7 Aug. 2018, www.ajemjournal.com/article/S0735-6757(18)30653-3/abstract.