Poll: Have you implemented a generative AI tool to reduce the burden of fractional quitting on your health system?
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Addressing Fractional Quitting: How AI Saves $5.5M Annually and Impacts Retention
Clinician burnout remains above pre-pandemic levels, and hospitals and health systems are actively seeking solutions to this persisting problem to increase staff retention. More than 30 percent of clinicians report high levels of burnout and less than 10 percent find their facility “joyful.” As such, hospitals across the country face a unique challenge in fractional quitting—the healthcare industry’s term for quiet quitting—as doctors intentionally cut back on work hours, slowly withdrawing, disengaging, and reducing their caseload.

AI, and most notably generative AI, is a leading remedy in alleviating this burden by reducing the time clinicians spend on administrative tasks and away from their patients. Augmedix automates documentation to allow clinicians more time with their patients and offer a more fulfilling work-life balance.

A recent study of 1,086 clinicians showed that Augmedix users were 25% less likely to reduce their number of full-time equivalent (FTE) hours while in clinic or seeing patients than non-Augmedix users. This means that a 500-clinician enterprise that does not use Augmedix may spend an additional $11 million to replace lost FTE due to fractional quitting over two years—equating to $5.5 million that Augmedix users are saving each year.

FTE is the unit of measurement that organizations use to determine the number of full-time hours worked by all employees. For example, two clinicians each working 20 hours per week translate into one full-time equivalent employee.

Reduction in FTE has been a growing problem in recent years. A survey of over 1,300 doctors found that approximately 40 percent will likely or definitely reduce their clinical work hours within the next year—a figure double what it was a decade ago. Burnout was included as a primary reason, as doctors are more likely to cut clinical hours when emotionally exhausted. The same survey also found that more than a quarter of physicians intend to leave their practice in the next two years, and 3 percent said they plan to leave medicine altogether. This trend will only exacerbate the issue of clinician shortages in the already ailing U.S. physician workforce.

Fractional quitting costs hospitals significantly, with implications on revenue, and more importantly, on patient care.

It costs a hospital about $1 million to replace an FTE employee. Losing a physician—even just partially—means that any revenue associated with that physician’s time is lost until those vacant hours are filled. It can take the hospital a while to realize that the clinician is cutting back on their hours, which means it may take time before a hospital even tries to fill that vacancy. And when a hospital finally decides to hire a new doctor, it typically takes 4 to 10 months to fill that role. Additionally, there are a myriad of costs associated with new hires. These can include relocation costs, physician student loan repayment, signing bonuses, and other perks that hospitals often pay new doctors. The costs of hiring new doctors can skyrocket.

There are much more grievous consequences to fractional quitting than financial implications—those related to patient safety. When a doctor starts to disengage mentally and reduce hours physically, patients have less access to their doctors, and continuity of care suffers. Patient safety and care quality are threatened, and impaired attention and executive function lead to higher chances of medical errors.

Augmedix liberates clinicians from administrative burden through the power of ambient AI, automatically transforming natural conversations into organized medical notes and structured data. Using Augmedix products can save up to three clinical hours per day and lead to a 20 percent bump in productivity. Additionally, Augmedix users report a 40 percent improvement in work-life balance.

Boosting clinician satisfaction by reducing burnout is key to combating fractional quitting, as our study indicates. The data is very clear: satisfied clinicians are less likely to disengage and/or leave. Another study found a direct correlation—any increase in burnout was directly associated with an intention to leave, with EHR helpfulness being called out as a factor of burnout.

Hospitals and health systems now have the tools in hand to address these significant concerns. Click here to schedule a demo and learn which Augmedix products can best serve your organization.

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