We often focus so much on our clients and our practice that we don't pay attention to the most important patient: ourselves. When you're running non-stop, seeing people, cleaning up billing, and helming your practice, you tend towards burnout. Not to be confused with stress—which can be good—burnout is much different.
Burnout is when you're not getting enough sleep, not taking care of yourself, and holding yourself to your obligations despite being ready to collapse. Almost all physicians feel stress, but not everyone experiences burnout, and likewise, not everyone who feels burnout addresses it healthily.
Let's take a look at some of the most functional ways to manage and prevent burnout. With a little bit of planning, some self-care, and a little assistance, you can get back on your feet and prevent another episode of burnout from sidelining you in the future.
5. Take a step back
Look at your practice and really evaluate why you started it, what you accomplish, and how it impacts your life. Surely your greatest thrill and satisfaction comes from treating and healing patients, but if you spend the vast majority of your time working on the minutiae of running an office—billing, scheduling, insurance, etc.—then you're likely not putting your effort or time in the right place. You became a doctor to help people, not work with bureaucracy and tedious paperwork.
Starting from the ground up, figure out your pain points—where are you spending the most time and money doing things you don't get joy from? How is your practice run, by whom primarily, and how does your staff function? Who is your ideal client, how do you get more of them, and how do you make it better for them and you?
One way to improve your client and personal experience are to use an intake process that utilizes machine learning. ViTel's AI will work with your clients as they fill out their intake forms to find the best match within your office (assuming your practice has more than one physician)—this prevents you from being overloaded with patients that would be better served by another physician. Additionally, the intake process can help pinpoint a diagnosis based on symptoms, presentation, current medications, and other factors going back into their history. This saves you time as well.
Even spending a few days breaking down your practice to brass tacks and then rebuilding can save you so much time, money and stress—it's absolutely worth it.
4. Create a schedule that you stick with
Go into the office at set hours, see patients and spend meaningful time with them, and then go home when you need to. This is made easier if you have the tools in place to handle the tedious billing, scheduling, and other jobs in your practice that are not essential physician work.
ViTel's system streamlines billing, payor communication, prescription fills, patient scheduling and intake, employee schedules, workflow, and every other variable in your medical office. This frees up precious time and makes it possible to spend more focus and energy on meaningful work, getting you out the door before 9 pm and without the stacks of tedious paperwork spilling out of your briefcase.
3. Get some support
There are plenty of physician support groups out there—both in-person and online. Nobody should go through the stresses of life alone and finding a group of people who know what you're dealing with is a great way to deal with it appropriately. Speaking with a therapist is another way to ensure that you're getting your emotional and psychological needs taken care of when everything feels like it's falling in.
It can be difficult to speak with your friends and family about the feelings of burnout and overwhelm that come with running a practice, and you honestly do not need to. Between support groups, online discussion forums, and regular therapist visits, you can ensure your stress doesn't get the better of you.
ViTel has connections throughout the healthcare industry, including physician-only support groups that we facilitate through our platform. This gives you a sounding board of like-minded individuals who are all going through the same problems, stressors, and difficulties. It also gives you a place to figure out better ways forward in running your practice and keeping yourself refreshed each week.
If you're working 90 hours a week, you're going to experience burnout—there's no way around it. Though scheduling time to relax sounds counterintuitive, it's honestly your best bet for getting some needed repose. Sometimes the only way to take time for ourselves is to make the time, so if you need to schedule in golf games, hikes, or vacations, you need to do it. The golfing doctor might be a cliche, but that doctor is likely far less stressed than the one who is spending 50 hours extra a week in their practice.
1. Find Some Assistance
Integrated medical software like ViTel's platforms allows you to schedule every aspect of your business, taking all of the non-physician pains off your plate. You can be as hands-on as you want, but it frees up your time for more important efforts. Our vast network can assist with:
- Peripheral connections, including physical therapy, prescription fills, lab work and referrals
- Employment screenings, including physician credentialing
- Patient and employee scheduling so you're not overloaded and not wasting hours during off-peak times
- Payor and patient billing
- Telehealth integration and establishment
- Supplies, marketing and more
Don't let an overwhelming amount of work, long hours, and stress drive you to burnout. Schedule a free demo today and see how ViTel can help you wade through stress and inefficiency into a future where your office hums, and you do more of what makes you happy.