As virtual hospitals open many lose patients to hospital burnout

Virtual hospital infrastructure is fast becoming a reality for some Canadians who tried to get care for specific medical conditions through conventional facilities but cant or wont make the trip.

For many of those who have had to go the extra mile to get a real hospital bed hospital stress levels are high and they keep getting worse a new study suggests.

Inpatient beds have become a collective burden for hospital patients said lead author Carolyn Leigh director of network health and safety at Torontos St. Michaels Hospital System. While some hospitals are slowly introducing the use of virtual beds our study shows that stress levels just continue to rise.

For the report the team analyzed data from 175 Canadian hospitals on six hospital systems that offer more than 800000 services. They did not include acute hospitals which account for about 85 per cent of all acute hospital-based patients.

The problem: the mechanisms changing with care and technology set a new standard for care.

Patient demands have always been an important concern for us in health-care systems; our study explores that right now said Stephen Lapointe chief operating officer of the St. Michaels Medical Centre Hospital System which also offers small hospitals division-specific medical facility networks and out-of-hours private practices.

To get a sense of how hospitals are running the risk of burnout for such patients the researchers identified patients who were hospitalised within the last year and compared that to an average of five years of follow-up.

We found that very few doctors nurses or physicians assistants were willing to log in to work leaving beds unfilled Lapointe said. As a result of this some patients suffer elevated levels of stress as a byproduct of watching evening shifts or being force-fed at night.

The findings are more frequently felt in physician offices than the resident population the investigators noted noting that for doctors another area where care needs are higher than they wanted them to be is out of hours spent with patients.

The high numbers of employees leaving the hospital revealed some troubling patterns the study found. Half of the doctors who returned to work said issues with privacy personnel and quality control came into play and half reported unwanted touching including exposure in the ER.

Peer rating issues affected care most often regarding sleep while financial and emotional strain were not identified the research found.

I was concerned that there were concerns about these Lapointe said. I would prefer to see physicians in the setting of the hospital take into consideration their patients needs since having them is always a good thing.

Theres an element of possibility with the study that the findings will be wrong on their face said Brian Bundesenland president of the College of Medicine and Dentistrys Health Informatics Institute.

There are a lot of ways to deal with burnout and you can get hard-headed with it he explained. I would say you are more likely to be able to address this and make it better through education and that gives doctors the communication skills they need to deal with it.