Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Italian Hematologists Struggle with Administrative Burden, Impacting Patient Care

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Italian hematologists are facing significant administrative burdens, which are impacting patient care and professional practice. A recent study highlights the extent of this issue and calls for urgent reforms to alleviate these challenges. The study, conducted by the Italian GIMEMA Foundation and the Italian Linfomi Foundation (FIL), surveyed 1,570 hematologists working with malignancies between May 24 and June 30, 2023. The findings reveal that nearly half of the respondents spend more than 47% of their time on administrative tasks, severely limiting the time available for patient care.

Significant Time on Administrative Tasks

According to the study, 63.22% of hematologists report spending at least half of their time on administrative activities. Tasks such as filling out forms, scheduling, and managing IT system failures are cited as major contributors to this burden. The overwhelming amount of time dedicated to these tasks has a cascading effect on patient care, with 57.47% of respondents identifying “Patient care” as the most affected area due to time constraints.

Impact on Burnout and Clinical Errors

The administrative workload is also contributing to increased burnout among hematologists. Over half of the respondents (55.17%) reported experiencing burnout in the past six months, with administrative tasks being a primary factor. This high level of burnout not only affects the well-being of healthcare professionals but also raises concerns about potential clinical errors, compromising the quality of care provided to patients.

Furthermore, nearly half of the surveyed hematologists (45.40%) emphasized the need for more time dedicated to patient care. The study suggests that reducing administrative burdens could significantly improve the efficiency of healthcare delivery, allowing hematologists to focus more on their primary role of patient treatment and care.

Market Access Implications

• Administrative burdens are a barrier to market access for healthcare services, as they limit the capacity of professionals to deliver patient care efficiently.

• Streamlining administrative processes could facilitate better market access by improving healthcare outcomes and reducing burnout among practitioners.

• Addressing these challenges is crucial for optimizing the healthcare system’s ability to meet patient needs, thereby enhancing market access and overall service delivery.

The results of this study underscore the need for systemic changes to reduce administrative burdens on healthcare professionals. By addressing these issues, healthcare systems can improve patient care, reduce burnout among practitioners, and minimize the risk of clinical errors.

Original Article:

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Glob Reg Health Technol Assess. 2024 Jul 3;11:161-168. doi: 10.33393/grhta.2024.3042. eCollection 2024 Jan-Dec.

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Administrative burdens have been identified as a major issue impacting patient care, professional practice, and the overall efficiency of healthcare systems. The aim of this study is to assess the administrative burden faced by Italian hematologists.

METHODS: A cross-sectional survey that included both closed-ended quantitative questions and open-ended free text answer options was administered to 1,570 hematologists working with malignancies and members of Italian GIMEMA Foundation – Franco Mandelli ONLUS and the Italian Linfomi Foundation (FIL). The survey was conducted online from May 24 to June 30, 2023. Descriptive statistics were computed for the quantitative data to clearly summarize the responses and descriptive analysis of free text responses was carried out.

RESULTS: Surveyed hematologists spend an average of 47.07% of their time on administrative tasks, with 63.22% (n = 110) of respondents reporting spending at least half of their time on these activities. More than half (57.47%, n = 100) reported that “Patient care” is the medical task most affected by a lack of time. Additionally, 55.17% (n = 96) reported experiencing burnout in the past 6 months, with filling out “Forms” being identified as the top contributing administrative task by 27.59% (n = 48) of respondents, followed by “Scheduling” (24.71%, n = 43) and “Managing IT system failures” (21.84%, n = 38). Nearly half of the surveyed hematologists (45.40%, n = = 79) identified patient care as the top priority requiring more time.

CONCLUSIONS: The study confirms that the administrative workload of hematologists has a significant impact on patient care, communication, and burnout risk, reducing the time available for patient care, leading to exhaustion and concern about clinical errors.

PMID:38979549 | PMC:PMC11228512 | DOI:10.33393/grhta.2024.3042

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