Branding & Exposure

How Your Brand Can Be Affected by Burnout

How Your Brand Can Be Affected by Burnout

The term “burnout” refers to long-term stress characterized by symptoms such as emotional exhaustion, cynicism, and low personal achievement. Burnout greatly depends on how demanding your job responsibilities are and it is far more common than most physicians think – you are not immune to this growing concern. According to Medscape’s Physician Lifestyle Report for 2017, over the last four years, physician burnout has grown by 25%. Moreover, over 80% of physicians experience at least one symptom of burnout through their careers.

Nowadays, there are several factors that contribute to physician burnout. Such factors include excessive workload, inability to control time and schedules, unskilled or absent supervisor, and difficulty establishing a work-life balance. As a physician, you work lengthy hours and often place patients’ needs ahead of your own. If not properly addressed, physician burnout can lead to negative health consequences such as fatigue and depression. It can also impact healthcare services rendered by causing an increase in medical errors and a decrease in quality of care. What’s more, physicians who are stressed with the pressures of everyday practice find it more challenging to form relationships with patients based on trust.

Physician burnout is a real issue. One of the things that can greatly be affected by it is your brand, that is, your unique presence that makes you who you are as a physician. When you are burnt out, your brand diminishes. As a result, this can lead to:

  • Poor attitude – When you are burnt out, you may begin to behave differently around colleagues and patients. You might act frustrated, cold, or defensive. A poor work ethic, cold environment, and your personal problems may cause long-term problems for your medical practice.
  • Increase in medical errors – As a healthcare professional, you make judgment calls on a daily basis. However, when you are burnt out, you might make decisions that lead to poor ramifications. As a result, you are at high risk of making medical errors and providing low quality care. This, in turn, can lead to poor patient outcome and loyalty.
  • Lower patient satisfaction – In order to keep current and prospective patients walking through your door, you need to prove yourself capable. If you are burnt out, you may drive patients away due to your poor attitude, medical errors, and poor patient outcomes. This can lead patients to making bad online reviews or word-of-mouth ‘non-referrals’. Word gets around fast, especially around the online health community.
  • Higher turnover rate – Having a medical practice that patients wish to visit requires investing in resources to make it attractive and up-to-date with the latest modern technology. Being burnt out can lead to losing employees (doctors, nurses, medical assistants) completely. As a result, you could lose thousands and thousands of dollars striving to fill the positions once again, as well as lose patients.
  • Greater risk for malpractice – Due to the fact that burnt out physicians are likely to make poor judgment calls and medical errors; you could be at risk of malpractice lawsuits. Such lawsuits add to the stress of job-related responsibilities and can cause you to make additional mistakes. When it comes to health, clinical decision-making is key. If patients feel that you cannot provide them with proper care and security, you could be in jeopardy of losing your credibility.

So what can you do to ensure that your brand does not suffer? Sometimes, all you need to do is remind others why they have come to you in the first place. If you want to cool off a little bit from burnout, you need to focus on yourself first and then work towards brand assessment. By focusing on your mental health state, you can gain perspective on how to re-build your own and your practice’s credibility. First things first, you need to speak with your colleagues and employees. Being on the same page is important because avoiding brand burnout requires a hands-on approach. This approach can be defined by re-focusing on your practice’s vision, mission, and key values. By making your message clearer, you have a better chance of standing out among competitors and delivering your brand’s standards.

Touch-ups could ‘refresh’ your brand both inside and out. This could mean a new logo, website design or advertising message. Make it a point to take on a fresh look so that the new trends represent who you are today. Another way to ensure a successful brand is to empower more employees to promote your brand. Brochures, pamphlets, and other marketing materials have proven to be quite effective but social media continues to remain the number one approach to marketing. It is a great way to stay on top of the latest trends and it is also an excellent way to get the positive word out about your medical practice. By sharing what you and your medical practice have to offer, you can show the world a version of yourself that is caring, compassionate, trustworthy, and reliable. It might take a while, but ensuring a successful brand through means of a strategic approach means ensuring one that is built to last.

Positioning your brand as a leader within your field requires show instead of tell. “I think that every professional can potentially have a sustainable competitive advantage by being known. It's kind of word-of-mouth on steroids. Where do you want to go next with your career? Attract more patients? Be named to a prestigious board? Maybe write a book or speak someday? To do that, you have to be known” said Mark Schaefer, globally recognized author and speaker. Instead of telling your patients about the benefits of your medical services, showing them can be more effective and much easier to believe. For instance, consider posting new videos of procedures and patient experiences, thus demonstrating your persistence, capabilities, and your patients’ satisfaction. In fact, over 65% of patients believe their physicians advertise brands solely if they feel that they are the most effective products available. Therefore, how you choose to educate your patients can significantly impact any future relationships.

Physician burnout may be frustrating but during such a difficult time, it is very easy to lose loyal patients. For this reason, like it or not, you need to remove financial cost barriers. While the healthcare industry works to lower prices and boost patient compliance, you have the chance to promote your brand and earn patient loyalty. After all, small steps can lead to big differences. Finally, building relationships with patients is the key to all brand strategies. However, the impact of the physician-patient relationship requires just as much effort on your end as it does your patients’. If you want build solid and loyal relationships, you must be willing to deliver what your patients want and need.

All in all, physician burnout is a waging battle within the healthcare industry. It can greatly affect your brand. If you are burnt out, it can lead to an increase in medical errors, lower patient satisfaction, patient mistrust, as well as lower quality care. In today’s day and age, word-of-mouth travels fast but social media travels faster. Just as easy as it can be to build a credible reputation through positive online reviews and referrals, it can be just as easy to diminish your brand credibility and loyalty. If patients feel that you are not connected to them or that you have lost your passion for what you do, they will lose their faith in you. Recent findings show that the effectiveness of burnout prevention and treatment approaches can be seen on both a personal and organizational level. Therefore, highlight the benefits that you and your medical practice have to offer by empowering patients to feel better about your expertise and skills, as well as their diagnoses and treatment plans. Physician burnout may be about you, but building a loyal brand is about your patients.