News: Physicians urged to prepare for mental health crises

CDI Strategies - Volume 15, Issue 21

Physician’s mental health and professional feelings of burnout represents an ongoing concern, according to The Physicians Foundation. Some 58% of physicians reported feelings associated with burnout in a survey conducted in spring of 2020 compared to 40% of physicians surveyed by the Foundation in 2018, HealthLeaders reported.

"We know from that survey last spring that only 13% of physicians sought medical attention for mental health problems, but 30% of them cited feelings of hopelessness or having no purpose and 50% reported having inappropriate emotions. In addition, 8% of physicians reported having thoughts of self-harm as a result of COVID-19's impact on their practices," says Gary Price, MD, president of The Physicians Foundation. The Physicians Foundation's Personal Crisis Management Plan tool for physicians features five questions that physicians should answer before a mental health crisis arises.

Nurses, too, suffer varying root causes for burnout and clinical documentation burdens may be one of them, according to Healthcare IT News. Payers and regulatory agencies aren’t reducing their documentation requirements so it’s difficult for facilities to attempt to reduce those burdens, too. Instead, leveraging technology via barcode scanning, device integration (such as automatically populating blood pressure readings into the EHR), and digital versus paper communications may help, the article states. Another report from the National Academy of Medicine, released last spring, found that between 34% and 54% of doctors and nurses experience burnout from long hours and added need of after-hours documentation. More recently, a survey of 400 physicians released in March 2021, shows 36% percent of physicians planning for an employment change were considering early retirement or all together leaving the practice of medicine.

“CDI program outcomes depend on provider engagement with CDI initiatives, and there are a lot of concerns and challenges to provider engagement in today’s fast-paced landscape,” said Alba Kuqi, MD, CICA, CCS, CDIP, CCDS, CRCR, CSMC, CDI supervisor at Prime Healthcare in Philadelphia, and a founding member of the ACDIS CDI Leadership Council, in a special report released by ACDIS last June.

Editor’s note: This article was originally published by HealthLeaders. ACDIS coverage of physician burnout can be found here.

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