The ENT Surgeon Burnout Trap - Is a Scribe a Way Out?

virtual medical scribe cost

May 12, 2023

The ENT Surgeon Burnout Trap - Is a Scribe a Way Out?

Being an ENT surgeon is tough. Between performing surgeries and seeing patients in the office to juggling the endless charting and bureaucracy of modern medicine, everything is challenging. No wonder, ENT surgeons are more likely to experience burnout due to stressors like excessive administrative tasks, lack of administrative support, high patient volume, and long working hours, to name a few. While ENT surgeons overall report lower burnout rates when compared to a few other medical specialties there are still many who report feeling at least moderately burned out. Dr. Julie Wei, an internationally recognized Pediatric ENT Surgeon said that she was not able to get through the demands of her professional and personal life, so much so that she lost her joy and passion for medicine. Let us in this blog post see how serious the burnout issue is in the ENT surgical field and if a medical scribe can help.

Burnout and incidence of medical errors among ENT surgeons

Burnout is a serious issue. Did you know that physician burnout is potentially dangerous - for both the physicians and the patients as well? Well, burnout has been associated with inferior quality and unsafe patient care. Increased evidence shows that ENT surgeons who are highly burned out are more likely to commit medical errors. Research says that 9% of surgeons who reported experiencing signs of burnout are twice likely to have made a major medical mistake during the last three months. Medical errors would mean a breach of a physicians' duty to provide competent care and would pave the way for malpractice lawsuits. Increasingly, ENT surgeons are opting to use medical scribes to ease the administrative pressure that may lead to injurious, sometimes even fatal medical errors. This could even mean that scribes can save lives.

Burnout during COVID-19 and beyond - Can scribes mitigate the crushing clerical workload?

Burnout among physicians is a growing problem, and surgeons are not immune to this threat. A study was conducted to analyze the prevalence of burnout among otolaryngologists during the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the research, the rate of burnout among otolaryngologists in the US during the COVID-19 epidemic was 21.8%. However, academic otolaryngologists in the US can experience moderate-to-high burnout at rates between 70% and 75%, indicating that they may be particularly vulnerable. Another study was conducted in 2021 to measure burnout among ENT residents during the COVID-19 pandemic based on three parameters - (personal, work-related, and patient-related). The work-related burnout score (mean) was 47.975. Work-related stressors or stressors intrinsic to the job, include excessive workload and long working hours. Improving overall efficiency can help reduce otolaryngologists’ workload and boost their morale. Time and again studies have proven that medical scribes are linked with a decrease in burnout that stems from completing too many administrative tasks and working inhumanly long hours. Hence, incorporating a scribe can decrease the stress of high clerical workloads leading to a reduction in burnout.

Strategies to address burnout and promote well-being in Otolaryngology surgical specialty

Burnout among otolaryngology surgeons has been shown to result in judgment and surgical errors, impaired interactions with patients and families, and diminished commitment and dedication to providing safe, effective and optimal care. Stressors are inevitable. It's how ENT surgeons deal with them matters. Practicing mindfulness and meditation, pursuing hobbies, volunteering for community service, getting regular exercise, prioritizing self-care, and above all delegating tasks are some of the ways to combat burnout. When it comes to delegating tasks, if ENT surgeons feel that they are spending time doing things that someone else can do it for them they shouldn't hesitate to take help. Say for example, they can consider using a scribe to help them with the time-consuming note-taking and other administrative tasks. Using a medical scribe for documentation support will help them with the ability to balance time at work with time to devote to health, family and other personal pursuits.

ENT physicians pursue a long and challenging pathway of becoming surgeons to experience the joy of facilitating healing and saving lives. Despite its virtues, being a surgeon is a high-stress profession that may lead to substantial amounts of stress, and ultimately burnout. Stress-related to demands of job like excessive administrative tasks, not having enough time with patients and working longer shifts can be overcome by improving their medical practice efficiency. Improving efficiency can help reduce time-consuming, repetitive non-clinical tasks and boost morale. Hence, it is best to hire an ENT medical scribe to effectively manage a daunting workload. This way they can reduce the amount of time they spend on non-clinical tasks and spend more time doing what they love doing the most and doing best: performing surgeries.

If you are an ENT surgeon who feels stressed with the amount of paperwork that's required these days Scribe4Me is here to help you. We have a pool of highly trained and certified ENT virtual medical scribes who can provide you with quality and accurate charts. To know more give us a call at (908)736-4180 or email us at [email protected]

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