Clinical Burnout: Combatting Clinical Fatigue with Technology That Actually Helps


The Joint Commission has released a Sentinel Event Alert warning healthcare providers about burnout and trauma during the COVID-19 pandemic. Read it here: Joint Commission – Pandemic Special Edition.

Time pressures, complicated patient conditions and disjointed or incomplete communications are often cited as major contributors to clinical burnout. These issues can result in turnover, mental exhaustion, physical illness and even suicide. Researchers in an AHRQ-funded study “found that more than half of primary care physicians report feeling stressed because of time pressures and other work conditions. More than half of the physicians reported experiencing time pressures when conducting physical examinations. Nearly a third felt they needed at least 50 percent more time than was allotted for this patient care function. In addition, nearly a quarter said they needed at least 50 percent more time for follow-up appointments.”

Burnout is a growing issue for front-line healthcare workers who have worked through the pandemic. Fortunately, HCI Interactive Patient Care solutions offer apps and devices to help combat burnout.

 Nurse leaders can play an important role in recognizing signs of alert fatigue and burnout among Nursing staff. The first step is understanding how to recognize the signs and intervene with one-on-one mentoring programs and support structures. Reports that unfamiliar and overly-complex technologies contribute to feelings of burnout are not uncommon. Burnout can have a detrimental impact on patient-clinician communication, which can lead to unintended consequences for patients.

What can be done to help? Clearly clinicians and Nurses need additional support to combat the many pressures they face, but how can technology play a role to help mitigate stress and clinical burnout, particularly now as they respond to the global pandemic?

Making an Investment in the Care Team

Care Teams gain significant benefits from supporting each other and utilizing time-saving tools through interactive patient care solutions.

Self Care

First, social connection appears to be vital for clinicians and Nurses to fight burnout. The American Medical Association recommends establishing group or team Wellness Programs for clinicians that include building social relationships, participating in enjoyable group activities and physical activity to help combat feelings of stress and burnout. In light of the pandemic, grief counseling and ways to manage feelings of being powerless are vital. Clinical staff can be encouraged to create a self-care regimen to help with a sense of being overwhelmed.

Social Connection and Proper Tech Training

Second, Administrators and Nurse Leaders can seek out the kind of technology that will support team collaboration without overly-complex use parameters. Thankfully, many hospital systems are considering and researching systems and tools that help reduce burnout and turnover, and help establish better patient-clinician communication – which can help with the stresses of care. For Nurses, one-on-one training time and making sure training resources are available and scheduled for new technologies create opportunities to focus on new information and learning to stay engaged and interested.

Digital Hospital Whiteboards as a Tool in the Fight Against Burnout

One aspect of Care Team self-care is managing patient communications and discharge readiness with interactive, touch-enabled hospital whiteboards and monitoring systems.

Touch-enabled digital hospital whiteboards can save clinical staff as much as 5 minutes per patient , per round, per day. That adds up.

  • When integrated across the EHR, RTLS and other intra-facility systems, digital whiteboards can save time and steps for Nurses and clinicians by speeding rounds and making accurate patient data available to Care Teams in real-time, with secure, one-touch record-keeping and minimal training.
  • They can be tied to RTLS systems to eliminate manual check-in/check-out boards. Digital whiteboards can pull PAC system images directly to a patient room and reduce the amount of time spent chasing after film jackets.
  • From a central Nurses’ Station, clinicians and Nurses can push health education content and specific messages directly to patients on their TV or bedside tablet and monitor a patient’s preparedness for discharge. 

All of these methods support clinical staff who feel inundated by demands on their time and emotions. Our front-line workers deserve the best support and time-saving tools we can offer.

HCI offers a range of cost-effective, scalable and flexible digital whiteboards, easily customized for specific clinical practice patterns, specialties or populations to help save time and eliminate redundant manual processes.

To learn more, schedule a virtual demo with our team so we can help your team.