In recent years, Graduate Medical Education has been placing more emphasis on “Wellness” for trainees, a topic that is difficult to define. The ACGME launched the Physician Well-Being Initiative in partnership with the medical community to promote “joy and meaning in work” while reducing burnout. At annual academic conferences, there have been multiple sessions that focused on wellness and how to improve the happiness and well-being among residents, fellows, and faculty members. Program Directors across the country have implemented strategies to ensure that trainees are not overworking, have access to stress management training, and have a proper support system in place. However, one area in the learning environment that rarely comes up in the wellness discussion is technology. Healthcare has long been plagued with legacy processes and software products that are inefficient and difficult to navigate. Replacing such products with modern, engaging platforms can have a dramatic impact on job satisfaction immediately. The key to improving wellness is to help residents cut down on tedious administrative time and create more time for learning and patient care.
Provide Mobile Phones With HIPAA Compliant Texting Solution
In an academic institution, residents and fellows are responsible for coordinating with different physicians, providers, staff, and family members. A large portion of the communication involves finding contact information and tracking people down. Many times, it takes longer to get in touch with the right person than to convey the actual message. By investing in cell phones with a reliable, secure chat application such as TigerText, residents can cut down on the time required to communicate with other team members. Instead of logging onto a hospital phone directory to find who is covering service and playing phone tag, a resident will be able to quickly check the schedule on their phone and send a chat message or call the other provider instantly. They can also continue with their work instead of waiting for a call at the nurse's station.
It's important to note that a secure texting solution works best if the institution makes it a mandate for all staff and promotes it as the primary method of communicating (unless it is a critical result that requires a phone call).
Involve Residents in Technology Purchase Decisions
In the enterprise world, technology procurement decisions are often made by leadership teams who may not know everything about the daily workflow of its end-users. The hospital or departmental leaders often put together committees to gather requirements and assess the vendors. Unfortunately, residents are often left out of the decision-making process but often end up being the primary users of most clinical products. Giving residents a role at the decision-making table will not only show them they are valued, but also helps ensure that the product is usable in daily workflows and processes. It also helps with implementation and user engagement. Residents are more likely to be champions of the product if they were involved in its selection.
Keep Zoom (or other teleconferencing platforms) after the Pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many residency programs to start relying on a teleconferencing platform for daily lectures, meetings, and interviews. As we start rolling out vaccines, institutions have started to think about what it will be like to go back to "normal". Many corporations are adopting and moving forward with a hybrid model in which employees spend half the time working from home. Unfortunately, residents cannot work from home. However, continuing to use tools that provide flexibility can improve their job satisfaction. For example, Instead of requiring that every resident come into a classroom for lectures, continue giving them the ability to participate from wherever they are. This will show them they are trusted as responsible professionals and also help them capture some extra time that would have been spent going to the classroom once or twice a day. As we've seen during the pandemic, it also leads to higher attendance and participation.
Organize Documents in One Easily Accessible Location
Practicing medicine involves keeping track of a lot of information - everything from guides, handbooks, presentations, and study guides. Hospitals and residency programs often find it overwhelming to keep track of all these important documents, especially when they're hidden somewhere on the intranet or sent out via email over time. Creating a centralized place to keep all program documents organized, to which all residents and faculty have viewing access, can save a great deal of time and frustration among residents.
These documents can be organized and stored locally in a shared network folder or added to a cloud platform like Box, Google Drive, or Dropbox (as long as there is no PII in it). It's important to consider which platform will be accessible to the most people as often as they need it. Various programs consist of faculty and trainees who may or may not have access to the same institutional network, and some networks may limit access to specific cloud-based platforms for security reasons. Medtrics clients use our Resources module to store and distribute files and hyperlinks. An administrator can upload documents and links to folders and share them with any users by applying for permissions.
Update Residency Management Software
Aside from the Electronic Health Record, the residency management software is one of the most commonly used platforms by Residents and fellows. Most programs require their trainees to log and track information in their RMS daily. Having a system that makes it difficult to log work hours or procedure logs can waste precious time and add to the frustration. Take the time to speak to the residents on a regular basis about their user experience with the RMS. Most trainees these days are text savvy and can't figure out how to use the software. However, using the software is not the same as using it efficiently. Providing adequate training and tips to maximize their productivity can go along way. Program administrators often get frustrated with trainees being non-compliant with a task without exploring the reason why. Poor usability is one of the top reasons why an employee fails to complete tasks on time.
While all software platforms have their pros and cons, it is important to select a product that emphasizes usability. At Medtrics, our team places heavy emphasis on user experience throughout the product development process. Product design is also lead by a physician who understands the nuances of clinical training.