Millennials are bringing positive change to workforces across America and the healthcare industry is also starting to benefit from them. As more millennial surgeons join surgical practices, leveraging their talents and insights can be impactful on many levels. From incorporating technology for better patient engagement, and implementing tools for improved collaboration, embracing the Millennial attitude can be highly beneficial for your practice and can ultimately enhance patient care.
Millennials demand for “work-life” balance has taken the workforce by storm. Many companies are embracing this new culture in an effort to attract and retain young talent. These companies recognize that giving employees more flexibility and having them “unplug” at the end of the day and weekend will result in happier, focused, and more productive employees.
This can include anything from scheduled lunch breaks to limiting consecutive OR hours, and scheduling the minimum vacation time. Instituting policies and creating a culture where surgeons feel comfortable disconnecting during their time off will result in refreshed, focused doctor – which will ultimately lead to better patient care.
The healthcare industry is notorious for long hours, particularly for doctors/surgeons. A survey conducted by the Mayo Clinic and the AMA showed burnout rates for surgeons have been steadily on the rise in the last three years. Implementing and encouraging a healthier work-life balance would definitely prevent such high levels of surgeon burnout and would also promote better performance in the OR.
From Whatsapp to Facebook to email, Millennials are constantly connected to their smartphones. While this can be distracting in a workplace, it can actually be useful to improve patient engagement. Millennial physicians can harness their smartphone *attachment* to stay in touch with their patients through a communication platform.
The range of healthcare communication apps emerging on the market is constantly increasing. This is no surprise, considering the updated guidelines around reimbursement from MACRA are based on the Quality Care Payment Program. The equation is simple – if practices can improve patient engagement and quality care, they will receive higher reimbursements. Keeping physicians (and the staff at the practice) connected to their patients and monitoring their progress and recovery is critical. Communication apps are a great tool to facilitate patient engagement and prevent readmission, and millennial surgeons are ideal candidates for this system.
A significant cultural trend brought on by Millennials has been the demand for a more collaborative work environment. Tools like Google docs, Slack, and Trello (or insert another popular project management tool here) have become the norm in many office workflows – simply because these tools increase efficiency and boost productivity. By jumping on the collaboration tools bandwagon, surgical practices can also become more efficient and improve their processes and communication.
These tools or apps can also be used to improve internal office communication. One example of an app that helps surgeons collaborate with their staff is SurgiApp. Surgeons can confirm if a surgery went ahead as scheduled, and communicate when an add-on code is performed – all without needing to pass paperwork between the OR and back-office. Schedulers can also keep surgeons abreast of their schedule, including any last-minute changes. Utilizing technology to communicate helps create a more efficient practice and ensures nothing falls through the cracks..
Speed and Efficiency
Unlike their predecessors’ attitude of “but this is the way we have always done things”, Millennials are constantly looking for new ways to automate processes, improve workflows, and get faster results. As such, Millennial surgeons embrace new technologies and recognize that this is the future of healthcare. Adopting this fresh perspective into the surgical practice environment and incorporating new technologies to automate processes and workflows will cut wasted time and increase efficiency for everyone.
Slowly, Millennial surgeons are replacing baby boomers in surgical practices as more complete their residency. They are bringing with them new technologies and an energetic work attitude. The sooner surgical practices embrace these changes, the faster they will improve workflows, productivity, and ultimately deliver greater patient care.