May 17, 2020

What effect will Hospital Doctor Ratings have on hospital performance?

Admin
3 min
What effect will Hospital Doctor Ratings have on hospital performance.jpg
Ratings Create a More Helpful Medical Environment With doctor rating sites becoming increasingly popular, the Journal of the American Medical Associati...

Ratings Create a More Helpful Medical Environment

With doctor rating sites becoming increasingly popular, the Journal of the American Medical Association figured it was time to see just how seriously American consumers take the ratings. Their February 2014 survey found that more than 50 percent of participants thought that consumer ratings were somewhat or very important. Hospitals and doctors have, in turn, taken to putting patient reviews on their websites in order to foster a relationship of transparency and trust. By looking at the reviews, physicians can see what their patients like or dislike about their office and can make changes accordingly.

They Make Clumsy Hospitals Clean Up Their Acts

While consumer reviews can keep your doctors tuned to what you need as far as manner and communication, professional rating organizations such as government reports and third-party assessments can more effectively keep doctors and hospitals accountable. This is increasingly important as a February 2014 report by the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector found that one in three patients suffered from a medication error, infection, or some other type of patient harm during their treatment.

Another survey from John T James, published in a report in the Journal of Patient Safety, reported that there are between 200,000 and 400,000 deaths caused by patient harm every year. This makes patient harm the third leading cause of death, behind cancer and heart disease.

So what sites should you use to review physicians and hospitals? Government ratings sites like Medicare's hospital compare websites do a great job of collecting data on things like patient readmission, proper antibiotic use, wait times, and surgical complications so that you can see how hospitals compare to each other and to the national average.

They Can Point Out a Physician's Strengths

As one reporter pointed out, most hospitals in the Washington DC area have received an award from some health rating organization or other. The awards are usually specific enough to point to one department or team of physicians' above-par ability. For example, an organization can commend a pediatric radiology department for its bedside manner and best pediatric X ray chair and other equipment.

Keep in mind that such an award doesn't mean that the entire hospital is up to snuff—just that department. An article in Propublica points out that while a  hospital may have an award in pediatric radiology, you also need to take a look at how they were rated in, say, preventative care, to get a good feel of how the hospital as a whole performs. The article also has some helpful advice on how to discern between the many rating organizations, including Medicare's hospital comparisons, Leapfrog, and U.S. News and Report, among others.

Do you rely on physician and hospital ratings? How important are they to you in your physician search?

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Jul 22, 2021

COVID-19 "causing mass trauma among world’s nurses"

COVID19
Hospitals
nurses
burnout
5 min
COVID-19 "causing mass trauma among world’s nurses"
Two nurses tell us about COVID-19, nurse burnout, and how to address it

Healthcare providers are facing ongoing nursing shortages, and hospitals are reporting high rates of staff turnover and burnout as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. In June a report found that levels of burnout among staff in England had reached "emergency" levels

Registered nurses Molly Rindt and Erika Haywood are nurse mentors on US recruitment platform Incredible Health. In this joint Q&A they tell Healthcare Global about their own experiences of burnout and what can be done to tackle it. 

What does it mean to be suffering from burnout? 
Some of the most common reasons for nurse burnout include long work hours, sleep deprivation, a high-stress work environment, lack of support, and emotional strain from patient care. 

While every profession has its stressors, the nursing industry has some of the highest burnout rates. The massive influence on patients’ lives, the long hours, and many other factors put nurses at risk of severe burnout. And with the rise of COVID-19, many healthcare professionals feel the strain more than ever.

Burnout in nurses affects everyone — individual nurses suffer, patients are impacted, and employers struggle with enormous turnover. This is why it’s crucial for healthcare systems and management to watch for signs of nurse burnout and take steps to provide a healthier workplace. Employers should be careful to watch for burnout symptoms in their healthcare staff — and not ignore them. 

Symptoms include constant tiredness, constant anxiety related to work, emotional detachment and unexplained sickness. 

How widespread is this problem?     
Unfortunately, burnout affects approximately 38% of nurses per year and even the WHO recently labelled burnout as an official medical diagnosis. To put this statistic into perspective, nearly 4 out of 10 nurses will drive to work dreading their shift. Burnout is a reason nurses leave their positions. 

Other top reasons for leaving included a stressful work environment, lack of good management or leadership, inadequate staffing, and finding better pay or benefits elsewhere.

Even before the pandemic, demanding workloads and aspects of the work environment such as poor staffing ratios, lack of communication between physicians and nurses, and lack of organisational leadership were known to be associated with burnout in nurses. 

Have either of you experienced burnout? 
Rindt: I have experienced burnout as an RN. I was constantly fatigued,  never felt like I was off work, and would frequently dream I was still at work taking care of patients. In my particular situation, I needed to take a step back and restructure my work schedule to allow for more time off. After doing this, I was able to reduce burnout by deciding to work two shifts back-to-back and then have 2-3 days off.

Haywood: I definitely experienced constant anxiety related to work - so much so it would impact the days I wasn’t at work. At one point, I was even on medication to help combat the anxiety and stress I was facing on the job. 

I had heart palpitations, chest pain, and wouldn’t be able to sleep before working the next day, which slowly started to impact other aspects of my life. I knew I couldn’t continue to live this way, it wasn’t sustainable. Because of this, I began to focus on my needs and prioritising self-care, especially during the beginning of the pandemic. Putting my needs first and not feeling guilty were necessary for me to overcome burnout.

What impact is COVID-19 having on nurses' wellbeing? 
Some nurses have suffered devastating health consequences. Many nurses have dealt with excessive on-the-job stress, fears of becoming infected, and grief over seeing patients succumb to COVID-19 while isolated from their families.

New evidence gathered by the International Council of Nurses (ICN) suggests COVID-19 is causing mass trauma among the world’s nurses. The number of confirmed nurse deaths now exceeds 2,200, and with high levels of infections in the nursing workforce continuing, overstretched staff are experiencing increasing psychological distress in the face of ever-increasing workloads, continued abuse and protests by anti-vaccinators. 

However, other small silver linings that came from the pandemic include increased professional autonomy, leadership opportunities and career growth potential.

How much of the cause of burnout is due to the hospitals or healthcare providers, and what can they do to address it?

Nurse fatigue poses serious problems for healthcare organisations, and a recent survey from Kronos found 63% of nurses say their job has caused burnout. The survey also found that more than 4 out of 5 nurses think hospitals today are losing good staff because other employers offer a better work/life balance.

Nurse burnout  not only contributes to staff turnover, but it can impact the facility’s quality of care, patient satisfaction, and even medical outcomes. 

Strategies to address burnout include training improving  nurse-to-patient ratios, include nurses in policy discussions, and prioritise fostering a healthy work culture in hospitals. 

What does your role mentoring nurses on the Incredible Health platform involve?
Rindt: My role can vary based on the needs of the nurses. The nurses love knowing they have someone in their corner who can give interview preparation advice or provide suggestions on how to improve their resume. Knowing that there is someone who is well-versed in the job process and can help set expectations on what to anticipate, really helps to remove a layer of uncertainty.

Haywood: When screening nurses, it is customised to what their individual RN or nurse practitioner needs, and at a time that is most convenient for them. Nurses are busy and often aren’t thought of first. Being able to provide support from the very beginning of their career advancement journey helps tremendously.  We also provide resources such as resume templates and tips that can help nurses be successful and feel supported.

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