Given how much stress the COVID-19 pandemic has put on the healthcare system, it should be no surprise that even as early as December 2020, 40% of nurses and 23% of physicians said they were considering leaving their jobs.  Clinician burnout was far and away the most significant factor leading to such decisions.  While such widespread clinician burnout may seem impossible to overcome, for many healthcare facilities, something as simple as upgrading to the right medical computers can go a long way to alleviating burnout and helping with staff retention. 

The Great Resignation Hits Healthcare

As is true with most other areas of life the pandemic has disrupted, COVID-19 exposed and magnified pre-existing problems that plague the healthcare system as much as it has created new ones.  Case-in-point: clinician burnout was already a well-documented problem that had reached near crisis levels well before lockdowns started.  Between high patient loads, long hours, byzantine and inefficient EHR systems, and day-to-day job pressures, between 30% to 50% of physicians were already experiencing high levels of job-related burnout all the way back in 2017.

After two years of COVID, the clinician burnout crisis is boiling over. Just this year, nearly 2 million healthcare and social assistance workers quit their jobs. This mass exodus is part of a larger trend known as the Great Resignation. While it is true that many healthcare professionals quit their jobs to take other positions within the field, the vacancies they leave behind at their previous workplace still put strain on the system.  

While the problem of clinician burnout requires long-term solutions to truly solve, the great resignation is impacting healthcare facilities right now, on a daily basis. Therefore, clinics and hospitals need to be able to implement short-term stop-gap measures to help blunt the impact of increasing rates of employee turnover. 

How Medical Computers Alleviate Burnout

It may seem like an outlandish suggestion, but medical-grade computers are the closest thing healthcare facilities have to a silver bullet to alleviate clinician burnout and put a dent in the ongoing healthcare staffing crisis.  This is because medical computers are purpose-built for the healthcare profession and, as such, are designed to address the specific needs of clinicians in ways that consumer-grade models are not.

Greater Efficiency 

Medical computers help preserve a clinician’s most precious resource: their time. Each moment wasted waiting for screens to load or dealing with computer issues represents a moment taken away from patient care. Every second saved is a second gained. Physicians who reported spending large amounts of time dealing with EHR systems had nearly twice the incidence of burnout as their counterparts.

Although EHR systems were designed to make charting more efficient, their reliance on multiple tabs and windows for each chart had the unintended effect of making charting more complicated and time-consuming.  That’s why touch screen Medical Panel PCs come with screen sizes up to 24” and are even available with 4k displays. That way, you can have multiple windows spread out around the screen, making them more accessible and easier to read at a glance, saving valuable time while charting.  This is also true of medical grade monitors.

While noble, the efforts HIT managers make to ensure the security of patient data security can also eat into a clinician’s time. For example, various programs and security measures can force clinicians to memorize multiple complicated passwords they must enter numerous times to access different kinds of patient data.  That’s why medical computers are Imprivata Single Sign On certified and can be outfitted with RFID or fingerprint scanners. Simply wave an RFID tag or scan your fingerprint once and gain full access to all the patient data you need to access.  That way, clinicians spend less time on keystrokes and more time focusing on their patients. 

Medical Computers Keep Clinicians and Patients Safe

When people talk about computers and safety, they typically mean data security and malware protection.  While such concerns are extremely important, and medical computers are more than up to the task of addressing them, computer viruses aren’t the only viral threat healthcare workers face on a regular basis.  It’s always been true that healthcare workers face an increased risk of exposure to pathogens. Still, with new COVID variants constantly emerging, each more transmissible than the last, the fear of communicable diseases has become a significant factor in clinician burnout. 

Consumer grade computers do nothing to address this issue because they are not designed with healthcare facilities in mind. As a result, microbes can accumulate on their surfaces which are then transferred from patient to patient. Although clinicians must wipe down computer surfaces after each patient, they often miss parts of the surface and rarely clean inside ports or vents. Additionally, most off-the-shelf PCs rely on cooling fans, which take in and blast deadly microbes through the air.  

On the other hand, medical computers are made with antimicrobial plastic and designed with sealed front bezels for easy disinfection.  Not only that, they are IP-65 certified against dust and liquids, meaning you don’t have to worry about errant bodily fluids contaminating impossible-to-disinfect parts of the device.  Additionally, medical computers utilize fanless cooling, meaning that clinicians do not have to worry about increased exposure to airborne pathogens like COVID. Less worry means less stress, which translates to reduced burnout.

Hot Swap Batteries Lighten the Load

The physical toll that working in a busy healthcare facility takes on clinicians is also a massive contributor to the high burnout rates in the healthcare industry. As it turns out, pushing heavy powered carts around from patient to patient all day is one of the biggest culprits responsible here.  Consumer-grade computers do not power themselves, so medical carts must be outfitted with massive, heavy batteries that are a chore to lug around.  Not only that, but when the batteries run out, the entire cart must be plugged in, rendering it unusable for hours.  Some facilities try to compensate for this by using laptops or tablets instead of PCs at the expense of screen space, sacrificing one burnout-causing pain point for another.

Medical cart computers with hot-swappable batteries solve all of these problems.  These extraordinary machines are powered by a series of onboard rechargeable batteries, meaning they can be used on carts that do not have their own power source.  This drastically decreases the cart’s weight, making it much easier for clinicians to push around.  

Not only that, the batteries are charged in a separate recharging station. That way, when the batteries are low, all you need to do is to swap them out with fresh ones from the charger, and the cart can stay in use.  Additionally, the batteries are hot-swappable, meaning the computer stays on so long as there is at least one battery in the machine, meaning there is no downtime when changing batteries.

With less weight to push around, and less need to worry about which carts are charged and which are not, clinicians will experience less physical strain on their bodies and less stress.

Final Thoughts

With COVID showing no sign of letting up, healthcare facilities must look at all possible solutions for reducing clinician burnout and preventing staff turnover. If you’re interested in seeing how medical computers can help in the fight, contact the experts at Cybernet today!