It used to be a problem hidden in the shadows of the deepest corners of hospitals, clinics and physicians’ minds.
Few ever spoke about it, even though nearly everyone knew it existed.
But that all changed in December 2015 when the Mayo Clinic released a study that shined a light so bright directly into the eyes of the issue that the healthcare industry finally had to admit that physician burnout was an insidious and serious problem that could no longer be ignored.
The mainstream and industry media covered the story by sharing personal stories of physician burnout that were as gut-wrenching as they were concerning. Tips and tricks for avoiding burnout became ubiquitous on the internet and at professional conferences. Government agencies addressed the issue.
Then the tech industry got involved.
As with most things in modern life, the big brains in Silicon Valley brought fresh perspectives to a pervasive problem–and delivered solutions that are as practical as they are wise.
And yes, the solutions came in the form of apps.
Some of the best apps for physicians facing burnout aim to lower stress. Others try to help you achieve better work-life balance. A few exist to focus your attention on your practice. Some are just silly fun.
All can be effective if you give them a chance.
Here’s a look at the three best apps for physicians who want to avoid burnout:
By now, most physicians have heard about meditation as medicine, and most probably agree that it can play an important role in helping relieve stress.
But accepting meditation’s efficacy and finding the time to meditate are two entirely different things.
That’s why Insight Timer exists.
With the swipe of your smartphone, the app provides you with instant access to guided meditation sessions of any length. It allows you to connect with other physicians from around the world who appreciate the power of meditation. And Insight Timer lets you write record notes after every session so the thoughts and ideas that come from the clarity that meditation delivers will never be forgotten.
Work-life balance isn’t something that is easily achieved, especially for physicians who are constantly pulled in different directions all day long.
In the tug-of-war between what must be done and what you want to be done, the mandatory almost always overpowers the optional.
But Lift is an app that helps you identify and make time for those life activities which you would like to do but often get pushed aside to make room for work–things such as exercising, yoga, writing, meditating, spending time with your family and spending time alone.
You enter the activities and your schedule, Lift provides you with gentle reminders and positive reinforcement to encourage you to carve out time for yourself. It also tracks your progress, so you’ll always be able to see how balanced your life truly is.
If you are struggling with burnout, an app created by people who run a website called “The Happy MD” might seem like salt in the wound.
But take a little time to explore the Burnout Proof mobile app and you’re likely to find something useful.
It includes more than a dozen videos, tons of tips, plenty of proven tools and guided audio designed to help you relax, focus and find that work-life balance that is often hiding somewhere in the shadows of your mind.
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“There just isn’t enough time in the day” is a refrain familiar to us all. And it often feels that way. The truth is, we have all the time there is. What we do with it is up to us. For doctors, as the popular saying goes, “the struggle is real.” Effective time management is essential to leading a professional life that is orderly and productive while leaving time for a high quality of life. Fortunately, there are apps for physicians that help you manage your daily life as efficiently as possible.
The following list is not exhaustive nor is it meant to reflect our rating of available apps. We are simply including some apps for physicians we think might be valuable additions to your time management toolbox. Some of these are free; we will identify those that are not.
Doximity: (iPhone/iPad and Android via Google Play Store)
This app provides access to HIPAA-secure communication, efax, custom-curated career management and medical news. All HIPAA communication is encryption secured. Communicate with colleagues, get the most current medical news and journal articles, search other career opportunities, and establish a secure fax-line.
This app serves as a clearinghouse for all information related to prescriptions as well as drug safety. Procedure videos are available, as is a medical calculator and online access to materials for Continuing Medical Education (CME).
Epocrates: (Available on iTunes for Apple devices and Google Play for Android – There is an annual subscription fee for Epocrates Essentials of $159.99)
The company claims that 1 of every 2 physicians uses this app which might suggest you should do so if you’re not among that group already. The app itself possesses multiple features such as:
Family Practice Management: (Apple and Android devices – Basic app free, individual issue subscriptions available)
Published by the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), this is one of the more popular practice apps for physicians. Designed for physicians, care administrators, office staff and other health care professionals, the journal provides assistance ranging from improving the quality of care and enhancing payment to managing technology and, perhaps most relevant to you personally, achieving better life balance.
As with some other
apps for physicians, the FPM provides news and content in real time. A complete subscription is available for $69.99 per year. The annual subscription for a single issue is $29.00.
PEPID: (Android and Apple devices)
This is how the company describes itself on its website:
“For more than 20 years, PEPID has provided exclusive web-based point-of-care solutions that enable healthcare professionals to efficiently pinpoint diagnoses, treat diseases and medical conditions, detect harmful drug interactions and allergy sensitivities, accurately dose patients, and provide quality patient education. PEPID’s products are integrated within the systems of clinics, hospitals, universities and schools around the world.”
One of the tools available from PEPID is what they call the ICD-10 Lookup Tool. Providing coding support that incorporates all information the World Health Organization publishes, this is one of the few apps for physicians that minimizes the time and effort necessary to find information when updating patient records or working with an insurance carrier to coordinate payment.
This is one of the apps that was designed to enable physicians to collaborate across multiple PC/mobile device platforms. Providing secure video communication, it permits:
Needless to say, the time-saving opportunities are extensive.
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It has been said that a person alive in the 1700’s processed as much information in a lifetime as the New York Times publishes in one Sunday Edition. One. If we stop to consider how much information we are exposed to daily, that shouldn’t really shock us all that much.
With the wealth of information available, it is difficult to sort through it all and separate the important from the merely interesting. Physicians (and health care providers in general) have a constant need to stay abreast of the latest information related to their areas of practice. This is where physician blogs can come in very handy.
For our purposes, we will not include any publications that are primarily policy or politically driven. As well, we do not intend for you to consider this an exhaustive list; in fact, inclusion or omission of any blogs with which you may be familiar is no reflection of our opinion about them. We are simply trying to introduce 5 of the best physician blogs in hopes of providing you with additional tools to help you achieve greater professional success and/or sense of personal fulfillment.
mommd.com – Connecting women in medicine
Clearly targeting a specific demographic, this site caters to women in medicine with blogs “which cover such topics as health, medical school applications, pediatrician moms, physician success, childcare and many other thoughts for women in medicine.” Don’t let the blog name fool you into thinking it just addresses “staying fit while practicing” type of fluff, however. For instance, a title of a recent blog post was: How to Detect and Address the Early Signs of Alcoholism in Your Patients.
Physicians Practice – Your Practice Your Way
The website is a clearinghouse of information for medical professionals with resources for CME, conferences, employment, patient confidentiality and salary survey results, among other things. It is also a great source of physician blogs. Recent titles posted on the site include: Keeping Medical Staff Happy (David J. Norris, MD), In Medicine, Honest is the Best Policy (Jennifer Frank, MD) and Collecting from Payers and Patients is Draining (Leann DiMomenico McAllister).
Freelance MD – The cure for the common physician
Freelance MD promotes itself as a community of physicians that give you more control of your career, income, and lifestyle. And it’s free! Although not updated as frequently as other physician blogs, it maintains a fairly extensive archive of content on a multitude of issues.
KevinMD.com – Social media’s leading physician voice
KevinMD.com describes the website as follows: “KevinMD.com shares the stories and insight of the many who intersect with our health care system, but are rarely heard from.” Thousands of authors contribute to KevinMD.com: front-line primary care doctors, surgeons, specialist physicians, nurses, medical students, policy experts. And of course, patients, who need the medical profession to hear their voices.
More trendy than most physician blogs, the popularity of KevinMD.com remains very high.
33 Charts – Exploring the edges of medicine and technology
This rather eclectic blog site identifies itself as: “a mashup of curated and original stuff that crosses the spaces of digital health, media, communication, technology, patient experience, digital culture, and the humanities.”
The scope of its content is evident in some of the recent posts: Medicines Exponential Future and Past and Disclosure, Doctors and Social Media.
There are, of course, dozens and dozens of physician blogs and one can spend hours researching them. Try the ones above for starters. They should provide you with a solid foundation of information and some interesting stories as well.
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