Healthcare professionals are increasingly feeling the pressure in complex healthcare systems worldwide, with rising demand and stress levels. As a result, burnout is a real danger, with serious consequences for the individual and healthcare. Can technology help to resolve this problem?
In the latest episode of 15 Minutes With The Doctor: Cinapsis, a healthtech platform supercharging how clinicians connect, Dr Owain Rhys Hughes and Dr Vinay Shankar chat about how improving communication between doctors and secondary care specialists can transform care. Cinapsis is a clinical communication platform that allows clinicians to communicate and securely share information. Typically, those are clinicians who work in different organisations. The most common example is a GP or a nurse in the community who wants to get advice from a consultant who works in their local hospital. In the episode, they cover how to integrate digital health into the NHS, how to build good tech for primary care, and how listening is fundamental to developing a solution that works for people. In this unique article, Owain shares his thoughts on burnout in doctors and other clinicians, bringing together his experience as a former NHS ENT surgeon and as a founder of a tech company:
“Cinapsis focuses on all the stakeholders and user experience. There’s often a divide between you as a GP Vinay, who wants advice and the clinician on the other side providing it to you. Because the technology isn’t serving you, it’s not doing what you wanted to do.”
– Dr Owain Rhys Hughes
One aspect that stands out to me on the platform is the ability to save time and get information quickly. There are obviously other benefits too, like preventing a hospital admission if something else can be done. But there’s a lot of pressure and stress in the NHS at the moment, what are your thoughts about how tech can help burnout?
Well, yeah, so tech can help, or it can cause burnout, right?
So it can contribute to it. Do you know what I mean? There’s clearly a crisis, isn’t there? In the NHS now, unfortunately. We’ve been discussing the crisis in the NHS for years, but there’s never been anything like it is now. No doubt about it.
There’s a big problem with demand and the pressure that’s been on many clinicians for such a long time. I think now it’s really taking its toll across the health system. So I think we have to do things differently. There must be support for GPs and primary care teams in the community. So we have to think from their perspective and have a lot of empathy, “Okay, what is it like to have to use this technology, have to make decisions for patients?”
It’s easy to say but very difficult to do. But carrying on as we are, isn’t going to work. It is absolutely clear that people are leaving clinical medicine in huge numbers, and there’s a reason for that. The chronic pressure can be too much.
So I think it has to be a priority for the NHS, “How can we support clinicians better, make sure that tools that they have is fit for purpose, and we focus as much as possible on delivering the right care for patients?” Again, that might sound straightforward. But, as clinicians, it’s the inability to do that causes the most stress. If you think, actually, “I’m not able to do my best for this patient or for my patients.” I think that’s what causes the most stress.
Definitely. I like your sentence about the process of delivering care, making that easier because sometimes there’s a lot of news in the media about the big shiny things. For example, AI or a fancy digital triage system. But sometimes, simply saving some admin time on repeated tasks, and those kind of things can actually have a really big impact on the day-to-day life of clinicians and other allied healthcare staff within the system…