I recently had an opportunity to participate in KLAS Research’s Arch Collaborative National Summit. This year’s event, like so many others in our COVID-conscious world, was held virtually. Yet, that did not stop more than 500 healthcare technologists from around the world from joining in to tackle the growing problem of provider burnout.
Provider burnout due to electronic health record (EHR) inefficiencies is not a new phenomenon, but the way we handle it in the face of COVID-19 is. According to Bob Cash, VP of Provider Relations at KLAS Research, early feedback from healthcare systems indicates that self-reported rates of physician burnout may have doubled in the last year. Interestingly, actual rates of reported burnout during the pandemic are very similar to those reported prior to COVID; it is the clinician’s perception that appears to have changed.
While this unfortunate trend seems to be echoing through the industry, the pillars to EHR success are clear: training, personalization, and governance. In most cases, these pillars should not come as a surprise to healthcare IT professionals. However, what may be new is the new spin on each area of focus that companies across the country are pioneering in 2020.
Here’s what I learned by taking part in virtual sessions at this year’s Arch Collaborate National Summit:
One major takeaway for me came during an explanation of KLAS’s findings on EHR training. KLAS interviewed the highest and lowest rated hospitals from their survey to find out how they deliver training. I was shocked to hear the results. There is no silver bullet for the methodology of delivering training. Both top and bottom rated companies deliver training virtually, in-person and also offer a pre-recorded library of learnings. This is important because it shows that even in organizations where training programs are in place, provider burnout can still thrive. The panelists noted that just having a training program is not enough to tackle the problem; it is about the time and quality of the training delivered.
- Time: Time is a tricky word these days, especially when time is money and money is hard to come by for health systems. For example, one hospital shared a story in one of our breakout sessions that made my ears perk up. This training team did such a fantastic job while being able to show the value of ongoing training that they were able to convince a department chair to completely shut down a department for one day to deliver Epic’s Thrive training content. A surprising statistic that was shared to illustrate the value of this training time stated, “For every one to two hours of training you deliver to your physicians per year, they will see, on average, 44 minutes of increased productivity in your EHR system per week.”
- Quality: Another impactful session focused on a Chicago-based hospital that is taking the quality of training to the next level. Their strategy focuses on aligning physician-dedicated trainers throughout the organization. While KLAS recommends one trainer for every 250 physicians, this can be a hard pill to swallow for a hospital looking to gain leadership buy-in for continued education. That’s why the philosophy of this hospital is to be proactive and take the training to the physicians. They have been able to use Epic’s Signal data to target struggling physicians and deploy this dedicated team in efforts to improve the quality of education.
Personalization is a word that can cover many different topics when it comes to your EHR. Personalization of notes, training or workflows is all common. The trick has always been finding ways to personalize for physicians without diluting your build to the point where it becomes unrecognizable. One hospital involved with the Arch Collaborative may have figured it out. Their personalization plan starts with understanding how physicians are feeling. To quote a hospital CIO at the summit, “It takes a lot of courage to send out a survey, but it takes even more to be open to receiving the results.” Once their team received the results, they put a newsletter together to share the feedback they had received, personalization changes and overall EHR updates. In the beginning, less than 40 percent of the people who received the newsletter opened it. Now, their monthly newsletters have close to a 90 percent open rate. In two years, they were able to move their net EHR experience from 33 percent (63rd percentile) to 56 percent (93rd percentile.)
Creating a governance committee is only as beneficial as the members you have on it. KLAS released data noting that companies who include nursing leadership have 7.3 percent higher satisfaction scores than companies who do not. For far too long, nursing was overlooked in EHR post-live optimization. Now, hospitals are working hard to regain the confidence of their nursing counterparts, but it is certainly an uphill battle.
How do we avoid the us versus them mentality that exists in so many of our health systems? What was evident throughout the summit was that organizational alignment is key. Companies that have at least two providers employed by the information technology team for every 1,000 hospital employees are scoring higher in overall end-user satisfaction.
When it comes to provider burnout tied to the EHR, like so many things in our world today the problem is clear, but the answer is not. I am so fortunate to be involved with an organization that is not interested in being right but finding the right answer. Attending a summit like this helps us to refine our methodology to adapt with the changing times and share our knowledge with customers around the world.
If you are someone who is passionate about physician satisfaction with your EHR, connect with our team of consultants today to learn more about our solution offerings! Stay tuned for more information regarding our on-going work with KLAS Research as a part of their Arch Collaborative initiative.
About the Author:
John Zaranti is a Senior Business Development Manager at Medix Technology. With nearly a decade of experience in the HIT industry, he brings extensive knowledge of Epic’s EHR offerings to his client relationships. When John’s not helping his clients maximize their investment in their Epic system, he can be found spending quality time with his wife Hillary and his two boys Joe and Albert. Connect with John on LinkedIn today to learn more about how he can help your team!