According to a recent report from the Ontario Medical Association, doctor burnout affects almost 73% of doctors. With consequences of burnout including impaired memory, attention and executive function, it’s never been more important to deal with burnout – before it’s too late. But with busier workloads and more patients requiring care, tackling burnout in your practice may require you to get creative in the ways you work.
To handle burnout before it starts, the OMA recommends finding ways to integrate digital tools into your practice. The right digital tools – those that are easy to use, integrate seamlessly into your workflow, and speed up your administrative processes – can help you eliminate duplicate work and save time in your day, freeing up more of your mental capacity for helping patients. One of the digital tools that can streamline your practice is using a billing software. Using a billing software can make it easier for you to get paid, which means one less thing to think about at the end of a busy day. Here are some of the other ways it can help:
It Saves You Time
Using a billing system, like Dr. Bill, can help cut down on a lot of the time you spend on paperwork – automating inputs like patient information, location, fee codes, and diagnoses can help cut back on the time you spend on each claim and bring down your overall admin time. The OMA’s report suggests that a lack of interoperability is one of the most common factors associated with burnout – so using a billing software that allows you to add multiple dates to a patient’s claim or collaborate with other doctors in your office can be a big part of cutting back administrative redundancy and saving you time in your day. This has a big impact on burnout. According to the same report, the risk of burnout increases 3% for each additional hour physicians work per week – so any amount of time saved is one worth looking into.
It Saves You Money
Not only can a billing system cut down on the amount of time you or your staff spend entering claims, but it also helps you out after your claims are submitted. For example, if you’re using Dr. Bill and a claim gets rejected, our billing team will automatically fix it and resubmit it for you. You can then use our claims dashboard to keep track of how much you’ve billed and what the current status of your claims are (paid, pending or rejected).
Since the average doctor in Canada fails to bill for at least 5% of the insured services they provide, using a billing software to follow up on rejected claims (that often get pushed under the rug) can result in huge savings. In the long run, this can even pay off in terms of burnout, since the OMA’s research suggests that doing unpaid work – like administrative tasks – is a contributing factor to feeling tired and overworked. Their guidance suggests that being paid for more of your time (like for the time you see patients) can help doctors feel less burned out at work – and by capturing more of your billable services using a billing software, you should find yourself doing less admin work.
It Reduces Errors
Some of the most common billing mistakes doctors make when submitting claims comes from simple errors like adding the wrong patient information, failing to meet the requirements of a fee code, diagnosis, or location, or failing to meet the requirements of a billing or fee code. While using a billing software can’t always catch every single mistake, smart billing features and tools like Label Snap (a feature of our mobile apps that let you capture patient data instantly using your phone’s camera) can help you make claim entry less manually intense – which can help out if you’re feeling busy, overworked, or burned out.
Burned out doctors are more likely to make mistakes – and making these mistakes can contribute to feelings of professional inadequacy or make you feel like you aren’t making a difference, both of which can make burnout worse. Although professional or medical mistakes can’t be avoided with a billing software, by automating the simple things you can eliminate some of the mental burden of your admin work, freeing up more of your energy for your patients.
It Can Help You Get Organized
Working in a workspace or practice that feels chaotic is one of the key factors associated with burnout and clunky or unnecessary technology processes can be a big player in creating this feeling. Research from the OMA suggests that the poor usability, duplicate features, or unnecessary alerts associated with a bulkier EMR or other billing process can contribute significantly to employees feelings of burnout, and a low sense of control over your surroundings – like having to jump through administrative hoops to get paid or follow up on an unexpected rejection.
Using a billing software can help you keep track of all your claims in one place, from entry to completion. It can also help you to track your income each month, year, or quarter, manage the amount of rejected claims you get, and create a process for submitting and entering your time. A quality software should have easily accessible reports, so come tax time, all you need to do is print it and hand it over to your accountant.
Even small changes in the amount of control you have over your workday – like being able to bill for your claims easily and knowing what to do if a claim gets rejected – can help a lot in terms of managing your feeling of control over your workload and how chaotic your practice feels.
It Can Give You More Flexibility
While more time consuming systems can often only be done on a desktop or with billing staff involved, finding a billing software that’s easy to use or has a cellphone app (like Dr. Bill) can make it easier for you to manage your billing no matter where you are. When you’re able to bill on the go from your practice, another hospital, or your home, you can keep on top of your claims and spend less time on admin after you leave the office. Conversely, being able to take your billing work home with you at the end of the day can give you the flexibility you need to meet your commitments outside of the office. The OMA study suggests that these work/home conflicts nearly double the risk of burnout – so the more flexible you can be at work, the better.
Whether you’re approaching burnout or just concerned about preventing it, it’s never a bad idea to start thinking about cutting back or eliminating excess time spent on administration. Using a billing system can save you both money and time – and in the long run, this can add up to big changes in how smoothly your practice will run.