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Technology Automation and Medical Provider Burnout

It’s well published that physicians and other healthcare providers report high levels of “burnout” and many are leaving the profession for different careers. Burnout, or the emotional distress from working in the healthcare system, can be attributed to several causes and has been further exacerbated during the pandemic.

Primary care physicians and providers report that the main reason for their burnout is the administrative tasks they are required to do.

On average, these providers see twenty patients each clinic day and manage a panel of 2,500 patients or more. In between face-to-face visits, they must review ER and consultant notes, keep their patients’ electronic health records (EHR) up to date, process medication refill requests, return patient phone calls and patient portal messages, review lab and radiology tests, complete prior authorizations, and more.

This problem may continue to worsen.

As medicine shifts to alternate payment methodologies, the sizes of primary care providers’ panels are expected to increase. In addition, several innovative technology solutions are rapidly expanding such as remote patient monitoring, which involves the monitoring and review of patient information from their home, and patient portals, which allow patients to submit questions and information to their provider. These options are incredibly beneficial to patients and improve quality of care, however they may bring more work to the already overloaded primary care provider.

One solution to the increase in administrative clerical demands is to delegate the work to non-provider staff. For example, medication refills are delegated to pharmacists or nursing staff at many organizations. This solution is troublesome for two main reasons. The first is that the shortage in healthcare staff is not limited to the providers. There are not enough nursing staff and pharmacists to take on this time-consuming task. In addition, prescription refills require medical decision making and there is a risk to having non-provider staff decide whether refill requests are appropriate for patients. Often, to mitigate this risk, multiple algorithms are utilized that the delegate must follow depending on which medication is being reviewed. This solution is prone to manual errors and requires that the algorithms be updated as clinical guidelines change.

A safer and more sustainable solution to many of the administrative tasks is to use technology to automate or recommend actions to providers and delegates.

Technology can decrease the work time to complete tasks and increase safety by nearly eliminating the human error component.

AMRA Prescription Refill Management was created by two primary care providers who struggled with the burden of multiple hours of administrative tasks each day. AMRA follows a patent-pending artificial intelligence algorithm that does not need to be updated as clinical guidelines change over time.

AMRA software takes individual provider discretion and patient needs into account and enables the safe delegation of prescription refills to non-provider staff.

AMRA saves providers and nursing staff multiple hours each week on medication refill requests and decreases burnout in their career. This extra time can be dedicated to a better work life balance for these clinicians or utilized to provide more value-added patient care. AMRA also improves the turnaround time for medication refill requests and decreases the risk of patient harm from being without their medications. AMRA is a win for the providers, nursing staff, and patients and allows for more quality assurance around this important task.

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