Burnout has become commonplace among medical professionals, especially radiologists. While increasing caseloads are part of the picture, much of the stress physicians are experiencing comes from areas that distract them from patient care – shifting regulatory requirements, confounding processes and systems that complicate medical practice, hospital politics, or challenges to balancing work life with home life.
3 tips that can reduce burnout
Jeffrey Hoffmeister, MD, vice president and medical director at iCAD, identified “3 Tips to Combat Radiologist Burnout” in a recent Imaging Technology News article:
- Minimize administrative burdens.
- Set daily priorities – finding time to gain a fresh perspective and escape the grind.
- Leverage cutting-edge technology to improve efficiency.
We recently spoke with Alan Kopp, MD, who worked in a traditional practice before joining vRad. Dr. Kopp reports that practicing as a teleradiologist virtually eliminates his administrative load, frees time for personal priorities, and enables him to focus more on what he loves most: reading images.
Automating administrative tasks
The multi-patented vRad workflow system is developed with one primary goal: To enable our teleradiologists to maximize time spent reading images.
Dr. Kopp knows that if he needs to discuss a critical result on a given case, he simply clicks a button, then he can continue reading. He is alerted the moment the clinician is ready to discuss the critical case. One click connects them and pulls up the pertinent images on his screen. Says Kopp, “You don’t wait on the telephone trying to find the doctor for 20 to 30 minutes on hold.”
More control of personal time
Regarding the benefits of working from home, Dr. Kopp says, “The fact that you don’t have to commute is a fantastic thing.” The daily pre- and post-shift scuffles with traffic, construction, crowded buses and trains, and extreme weather conditions are virtually eliminated
What’s more, time previously spent getting to and from a traditional practice or facility now belongs to each teleradiologist. So, not only has the inherent stress of commuting been eliminated, but it can be replaced with stress-relieving pursuits – family time, hobbies, recreation, or a little extra sleep each morning.
Efficiency through advanced technology
Technology is useless if it can’t be practically applied. That’s why radiologists are integral to model development, testing and validation for our leading-edge systems and artificial intelligence (AI) applications. Director of software engineering Brian Baker talks about why radiologists are essential to AI imaging in a recent post.
For Dr. Kopp, the results of the close partnership between technologists and radiologists is evident every day he spends in his reading room. “The workstation and dictation systems are just top-of-the-line. You can’t get any better,” says Kopp. “And believe me, I’ve witnessed plenty of them.”
Many vRad teleradiologists report significantly less work-related stress after moving from traditional practice settings. Working from home gives them more control of their work/life balance, and the advanced workflow and support systems help them handle caseloads more efficiently while enabling greater focus on patient care.