Improving patient care is the ultimate goal of any oncology-focused practice or facility. However, empowering staff to focus almost exclusively on patient care is far easier said than done. Post-pandemic staff is suffering from the highest rates of burn-out in history, with over 55% of front-line healthcare workers reporting mental and physical exhaustion. 62% of healthcare staff have also reported mental health repercussions which can lead to decreased presenteeism at work.
Improving Practice Efficiency
How to reduce staff burn-out while improving patient care
Many organizations focus only on rates of absenteeism and need to acknowledge the dangers of low presenteeism. Presenteeism refers to an employee's mental presence rather than physical presence at work. Harvard Business Review estimates that low presenteeism costs the U.S. economy upwards of $150 billion a year in reduced productivity. There have been a few studies over the years on presenteeism in healthcare workers across the world. The verdict is clear that burnt-out and exhausted staff are unable to offer care at their full potential.
So, how can facilities give staff the tools needed to do their jobs to the best of their ability while improving overall practice efficiency and patient care all at the same time? The answer lies in selecting the right technology partners to streamline staff workflows and reduce the administrative burden to reduce care team burnout.
Canopy, the first intelligent care platform for oncology, is designed to improve workflows for administrative teams, nurses, and physicians through its EMR-integrated suite of products that include ePRO-based patient monitoring, task management, triage pathways, advanced analytics, and program management.
Administrative teams face many challenges in the daily management and organization of any practice. There are multiple systems to log in to and passwords to remember, staffing shortages, constant changes in reimbursement policies, and new demands from patients for rapid and remote access.
Canopy’s suite of reporting tools can help practices get a better handle on their average call volume, time spent on calls, ePRO enrollment (patient symptom reporting), pathway utilization, and management of value-aligned care programs. These metrics give administrators transparency into everything that is going on at a practice and allow resources to be appropriately allocated and moved around as needed. Additionally, Canopy syncs directly with popular EMR systems and provides a seamless single sign-on experience, eliminating the need for duplicative work and additional login credentials across systems.
At Highlands Oncology Group, Director and Canopy user, Traci Yeftich indicated that they could support more cancer patients with the same staff using Canopy.
“Highlands has become more operationally efficient since working with Canopy. Many departments have been able to streamline workflows and return calls faster. Our switchboard team creates tickets for incoming calls and the smart template guides them through message entry. The ease of ticket entry and visibility of all calls on the dashboard has positively impacted our ability to respond to and care for patients.”
—Traci Yeftich, Director, Highlands Oncology Group
Value-based care models are constantly changing, and administrative teams often struggle to ensure that patients are appropriately enrolled, monitored, and that reimbursement for work done for patients is maximized. Canopy’s Program Management platform allows practices to easily operationalize care programs such as Chronic Care Management (CCM), Principal Care Management (PCM) and the Enhancing Oncology Model (EOM). Administrative staff can identify patients that meet eligibility criteria and utilize tools for task prioritization and care plan execution. They can then automatically document all cross-functional time spent on billable patient care activities and continuously analyze performance.
“Knowing that OCM (Oncology Care Model) was going to be ending, as an organization we needed to explore other ways to continue providing the same level of care we had with OCM. We found this with the CCM (Chronice Care Management) program. Canopy helps us identify patients eligible for the program as well as automatically calculate time spent each month by the care team. This automatic tracking allows us to confidently bill for the services provided.”
—Jennifer Graham, Value-based Care Director, Highlands Oncology Group
Nursing staff suffer some of the highest rates of burnout as they often share administrative and patient-facing duties. In many practices, non-standardized workflows or underutilized technology platforms lead to highly manual and individualized strategies that are error-prone, non-transferable, and difficult to manage. Cross-coverage and transparency remain hot-button issues for already short-staffed facilities.
Northwest Medical Specialities sought to utilize its technology partners to reduce administrative tasks for its staff and increase efficiency across the practice.
“The inefficiencies and lack of transparency between team members were some of our biggest pain points.” Other challenges included a lack of continuity between staff during vacation time or sick days and the inability to identify when new resources or staff were needed. Amy also shared, “We needed a system to understand what kinds of tasks and tickets were coming in. Do we need more schedulers or another LPN? Those associated costs are very different.”
—Amy Ellis, Chief Operating Officer, Northwest Medical Specialties
Today, using Canopy’s solutions for ticketing and triage, there has been improved efficiency and cross-functional coordination through a centralized work queue with smart routing and filtering capabilities. Ticketing capabilities have offered improved response coordination and quality with a 9-minute response time to patient symptom-related phone calls. The workflows quickly surface the most important patient inquiries and associated patient information.
The standardized symptom triage and decision support have also helped all staff uniformly improve care quality. “The triage staff like that you can skip around on a triage pathway, and you can complete the pathway as the patient is giving you the feedback in an organic way,” said Amy.
Oncology providers are focused on responding to patient symptoms that may offer treatment or cancer progression indications as quickly as possible. To focus on priority cases first, practices must have a methodology to ensure that providers are not becoming overloaded. The American Medical Association (AMA) found that 67% of providers at a healthcare institution were feeling burned out. These metrics aren’t unique; providers across institutions have reported that a chaotic or disorganized environment has led them to experience mental exhaustion.
Canopy helps to relieve physician burnout by optimizing workflows. A single-site study of 923 patients at Highlands Oncology Group utilizing Canopy ePRO, found that the majority of patient issues were resolved by nursing specialists and provider intervention was not required. Out of the 29,000 reports submitted by patients, tickets were optimized and prioritized by administrative staff and nurses. As a result, only a small percentage required an office visit leaving physicians far less rushed.
“People with cancer experience a wide variety of treatment side effects and disease-related symptoms that are extremely challenging for the care team to identify and resolve between office visits. This study adds to a growing body of evidence that suggests patients are ready and willing to remotely engage with providers. The oncology care delivery model needs to evolve to optimize patient care.”
—Michael Kolodziej, MD, Head of the Medical Advisory Board at Canopy
Physicians have been thrilled to see that patient monitoring by Canopy’s platform has lowered emergency and hospital room admissions by 22%. Not only does this benefit already overwhelmed hospital staff, but it saves a tired and Immuno-compromised patient from an unnecessary wait at the hospital.
Are you interested in giving your staff more time to focus on patient care? Contact our team to learn how our platform can standardize care, improve daily workflows, and ultimately, improve patient care.