This Week Health

Surgeon General Sounds Alarm on Healthcare Worker Burnout and Resignation. With a projected shortage of nearly 140,000 physicians by 2033 and a shortage of 3 million lower wage healthcare workers in the next five years, the US Surgeon General has sounded the alarm on the country's ongoing healthcare burnout crisis.

Today we explore.

Transcript

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Today in health, it surgeon general sounds the alarm on healthcare worker, burnout and resignation. My name is bill Russell. I'm a former CIO for a 16 hospital system and creator of this week health. Instead of channels dedicated to keeping health, it staff current and engaged. We want to thank our show sponsors who are investing in developing the next generation of health leaders.

Courtney and dynamics, Quill health towel, site nuance, Canon medical, and current health. Check them out at this week. health.com/today. All right. Today is the last day of my vacation. You might not know it because you've been hearing my voice, but I actually recorded these a week ahead of time. And actually, while I'm doing this.

If you could do me a favor right now, think of one person that you can share this show with. , we produce daily shows as , Tuesday through Friday, and we do a new state show every Monday. , to try to keep health it staff current and engaged. If you can think of someone to send a note to and say, Hey, you should subscribe to this podcast. I find it really helpful. And I.

, learned something. I'll tell you, I learned something every day, just doing the show. Go ahead and share it with somebody that would be greatly appreciated. It really helps us to continue to do the work. That we're doing. All right. Let's get to today's story, search and general advisory. Sound's warning on healthcare worker, burnout and resignation. This is.

Interestingly, I got it from healthcare finance news. The story is everywhere, but, , this is the one that I picked up on.

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The pandemic, of course only made things worse, prompting Murthy to issue an advisory for addressing health worker burnout. That includes recommendations such as reducing administrative burdens. Being more responsible to workers needs and eliminating punitive policies. For seeking mental health and substance use disorder care.

, Generally. I'm not going to get to my so white yet, but one of the things as I read this. , when I see reduce administrative burdens, I find that interesting because a fair amount of the administrative burdens come from the government. And the documentation requirements for the government, which needed to be revamped and looked at what information do you actually need?

In order to manage the health of the community and to measure, , the quality outcomes of the various health systems that needs to be looked at as well. So, , while I don't disagree with reducing administrative burdens that are caused by the health system themselves, keep in mind the regulatory burden.

That is put on each one of the hospitals, especially around documentation. , let's get back to the article specifically, Murthy advises that hospitals and health systems. I should listen to workers and seek their involvement to improve workflows. And organizational culture. On the mental health front, he called for ensuring on-demand counseling and increased accessibility to after work care. By all means, I saw a great post on LinkedIn for, , elder care.

, that one house system is offering elder care, keeping in mind that a lot more of us are taking care of our parents, aging parents, and that increases the stress that we have on the family. And. And this house system. Had a really cool program where they offered elder care. , during the day, and it's not like daycare per se.

, but it brings, , , older aging population together and community is good. Isolation is bad. , so this is good for them too. , interact with other people of their age group and to get them out of the house. And it also relieves that burden of that person providing that care. , so again, there's a lot of creative things that we can do on the, , to reduce the overall burden. We have to think outside of the health, some clearly there are burdens we're putting on people.

, when they come to work and those could be technology burns, they could be, , documentation burdens. There, there could be a bunch of them that are within the four walls of the health system, but we also have to think outside the health system, where, what burdens are people carrying into the building?

That we can address. And that's why I like that. That care program that that health system is providing. , let me go back to the article again, reducing the administrative burden is essential. He said because a worker's time it should be spent with patients. In the community and building relationships with colleagues.

Murthy cited research showing that this isn't always the case. And one study revealing that on average primary care workers will spend two hours a day on administrative tasks for every one hour. Of direct patient care again. Vivec, we've got to look at the regulatory burden, how we're measuring hospitals, how we're measuring quality, how we're measuring physicians performance.

And all those things and a lot of them have to do with documentation. A lot of health systems on the health system front, I would say we've got to be looking at things like nuance. We've gotta be looking at things that reduce the amount of time that two hours needs to be brought down. And we need to put programs together to reduce the pajama time to reduce that administrative burden that is happening. We have to look at the log files to see who's really struggling with the administrative systems and how can we support them?

In that. All right back to the article among other recommendations, the advisory suggests healthcare organizations provide all workers with living wages. Paid sick and family leave. Rest breaks, evaluation of workloads and working hours, educational debt, support, and family friendly policies, including childcare and care for older adults.

It also advocated for adequate staffing, including search capacity for public health emergencies. , the only challenge I have with that statement is it's not one size fits all. If you're saying that about Mayo and, and, , Cedar, Sinai and Northwestern medicine by all means, go ahead and say all those things they all apply.

But if you're saying it about the smaller health systems that are barely getting by and just have very difficult quarters, , their COVID patients are down, their wages are up. , you're, you're putting expectations into the healthcare workers that are not sustainable by those systems that are really struggling financially right now. And so we can't talk as if healthcare is one monolithic thing. It is not one monolithic thing. They're very different types of organizations out there facing very different.

, , communities that they service, some are very. , you're spread out and it's hard for them to hire workers and they are just being decimated. By the, , wage inflation that's hitting. And the fluctuations in patient volumes. , so when we say, Hey, all workers with living wages, by all means all workers should have living wages. They should have paid sick and family leave. Rest breaks. These are, these are just fundamental human rights, evaluation of workloads and working hours. Educational debt support, I think is a little over the top to throw that in, , and family friendly policies, including childcare and care for older adults.

That's what we just talked about. I don't think anything, these things are bad. I just think throwing these expectation. Stations out there is a stirring, the pot. And, , creating a problem. It's going to drive the cost of healthcare up. So that's fine. If you accept that premise that if we offer better,

Benefits and wages that it's going to drive the cost of healthcare up. Just understand that. That's what you're saying. There's a balance that has to be struck here. , the surgeon general also recommended that health systems prioritize social connection and community as core values and diversity expand the public health workforce while improving disease surveillance systems to help address social determinants of health and health inequities.

Wow. , this, this is like me looking at my kids and saying, Hey, I expect better from you. I expect you to do better. I expect you to, , get straight A's. I expect you to go to a good college. I expect you to get a good job. I expect you to provide for me in my old age. , this list is the world and all that is within it.

, not that I disagree with doing the work. I agree with doing the work. I think it's a valuable work. I agree with, , Dr. Murphy using his bully pulpit, but just understand what it is. That's exactly what it is. It's a bully pulpit to essentially push organizations that maybe are underperforming in these areas.

To a step forward and, , somewhat, , , calling out some of the behaviors that should be there. , by all means that's, that's his role and that's what he should be doing. , we were amplifying this through the media, including myself and find this through the media because I think this is true.

I think we have a problem with our healthcare workers in burnout. We have resignation problem. We are going to have a significant shortage moving into the next couple of years and we have to address that. , from the health it side. Again, we talked about various technologies that can be put in there, but technology alone is not going to solve this problem. It's creative solutions like elder care it's creative solutions, like, , on demand.

, mental health. , for those workers, it's being aware of the burdens that they bring into the, to the workforce. There's so many different things at work here. And, , I agree with Vivek Murthy and we can do better. We should strive to do better. And whatever that means for our community and our staff.

All right. That is the last episode for this week, while I am on vacation, I will be back next week with some new headlines to talk to you about. If , someone that might benefit from our channel, please forward them a note. They can subscribe on our website this week, health.com or wherever you listen to podcasts, apple, Google, overcast, Spotify, Stitcher.

You get the picture. We are everywhere. We want to thank our channel sponsors for investing in our mission to develop the next generation of health leaders. Gordian dynamics, Quill health Taos site nuance, Canon medical, and ???? current health. Check them out at this week. health.com/today. Thanks for listening that's all for now

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