3 Key Solutions to Fighting Stress In the Medical Field

As you read this, doctors are on the frontlines fighting a global pandemic. Lives depend on their skills and expertise, but what often gets overlooked is the fact that doctors are still prone to stress. Sure enough, according to a report by Medscape, more than 42% of physicians across various specialties say they are burnt out. Burnout is still a common occurrence among physicians and it's a matter that practitioners and healthcare institutions should take seriously. After all, doctors are human like us and they deserve a break from their daily challenges. The issue of stress and burnout in the medical field continues to be a critical topic in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, so it's important to explore the options that are currently available to people in the medical field. Here are a few key solutions: 1. Creating a culture of collaboration At the organizational level, administrators will need to establish a robust program for engaging the needs of physicians and specialists. Initiatives such as mental health interventions and counselling not only encourages productivity but improves personnel retention. These should also involve physicians in the decision-making mechanisms of the organization. Not all policies are reflective of what's happening on the ground, so giving physicians a place in "higher up" conversations creates a culture of trust and collaboration. This, in turn, simplifies complex processes and leads to better outcomes for the whole organization. 2. Training for bigger roles Indeed, much of the occupational stress that doctors experience stems from a lack of professional support. When you have multiple specialists doing the same tasks without giving them an opportunity to expand their horizons, you risk creating an avenue where job dissatisfaction is rampant. One way to correct this is to invest in job enrichment and build an environment where constant learning is emphasized. This keeps the organization from thinning itself out with only a few specialists capable of handling certain tasks such as administering anesthesia or handling data security. In addition, providing doctors with enough autonomy to apply newly-acquired skills helps enhance productivity and bring innovation to the fore. Through skill development programs and participation in workshops, conferences, and team-building should be considered along these lines. 3. Developing a stress engagement program Work stress interventions are critical to any organization, and that goes for hospitals and clinics. There is always a need to draft a game plan for knowing how to keep physicians and other practitioners engaged and prevent the onset of stress. There are a number of ways you can go about this. For one, you may opt for a more workable shift-rotation scheme. Psycho-physiological needs should also be met, so if your organization is based in Washington, you may recommend a Seattle pain relief clinic or pain management center that’s capable of addressing stress-induced conditions such as fibromyalgia. Stress is rampant in the medical field because practitioners are committed to providing quality life-saving services. Organizations will only need to confront the reality that doctors, nurses, attendants and everyone else down the line require enough support, especially now as healthcare systems are met by unprecedented challenges.

As you read this, doctors are on the frontlines fighting a global pandemic. Lives depend on their skills and expertise, but what often gets overlooked is the fact that doctors are still prone to stress. Sure enough, according to a report by Medscape, more than 42% of physicians across various specialties say they are burned out. 

Burnout is still a common occurrence among physicians and it’s a matter that practitioners and healthcare institutions should take seriously. After all, doctors are human like us and they deserve a break from their daily challenges. The issue of stress and burnout in the medical field continues to be a critical topic in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, so it’s important to explore the options that are currently available to people in the medical field. Here are a few key solutions:

1. Creating a culture of collaboration

At the organizational level, administrators will need to establish a robust program for engaging the needs of physicians and specialists. Initiatives such as mental health interventions and counseling not only encourages productivity but improves personnel retention. These should also involve physicians in the decision-making mechanisms of the organization. 

Not all policies are reflective of what’s happening on the ground, so giving physicians a place in “higher up” conversations creates a culture of trust and collaboration. This, in turn, simplifies complex processes and leads to better outcomes for the whole organization. 

2. Training for bigger roles

Indeed, much of the occupational stress that doctors experience stems from a lack of professional support. When you have multiple specialists doing the same tasks without giving them an opportunity to expand their horizons, you risk creating an avenue where job dissatisfaction is rampant. One way to correct this is to invest in job enrichment and build an environment where constant learning is emphasized. 

This keeps the organization from thinning itself out with only a few specialists capable of handling certain tasks such as administering anesthesia or handling data security. In addition, providing doctors with enough autonomy to apply newly-acquired skills helps enhance productivity and bring innovation to the fore. Through skill development programs and participation in workshops, conferences, and team-building should be considered along these lines.

3.  Developing a stress engagement program 

Work stress interventions are critical to any organization, and that goes for hospitals and clinics. There is always a need to draft a game plan for knowing how to keep physicians and other practitioners engaged and prevent the onset of stress. 

There are a number of ways you can go about this. For one, you may opt for a more workable shift-rotation scheme. Psycho-physiological needs should also be met, so if your organization is based in Washington, you may recommend a Seattle pain relief clinic or pain management center that’s capable of addressing stress-induced conditions such as fibromyalgia.

Stress is rampant in the medical field because practitioners are committed to providing quality life-saving services. Organizations will only need to confront the reality that doctors, nurses, attendants and everyone else down the line require enough support, especially now as healthcare systems are met by unprecedented challenges. 


Fern Health Taps 10M Mass General De-Identified Patient Records for Pain Management

Massachusetts General Hospital to Deploy CarePassport’s Digital Health Platform for Clinical Trials

What You Should Know:

– Fern Health will reveal a
first-of-its-kind collaboration with Mass General Hospital where it will inform
existing and future digitally-delivered pain management programs through the
marriage of AI + predictive analytics with 10 million de-identified Mass
General patient records.

– MGH will validate emerging Fern Health products and pilot new products in clinical environments, setting the stage for Fern expansion into all aspects of non-invasive multimodal pain management.


Fern Health, a digital health company pioneering virtual musculoskeletal pain programs and pain neuroscience education through employers, announced that it has expanded its collaboration with Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and the MGH Center for Innovation in Digital HealthCare (CIDH). MGH is the original and largest teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School and home to one of the world’s leading pain management clinics.

Fern Health’s relationship with MGH, formed 18 months ago, will now broaden to entail a multi-year collaboration in which MGH will validate emerging Fern Health product lines, pilot new products in a clinical setting, and investigate new scientific approaches to pain management.

The expansion supports Fern Health’s long-term vision of democratizing access to non-invasive multimodal pain management. Fern Health’s current product suite, which includes an evidence-based, digitally delivered musculoskeletal (MSK) pain management program, was originally developed with experts from within Mass General, in consultation with their clinical collaborators at the world-renowned Spaulding Rehabilitation Network. Fern’s biopsychosocial pain management solution was validated with the clinical rigor of MGH’s renowned hospital-based research enterprise.

“There are a multitude of gaps in the U.S. healthcare system that unfortunately fail our patients with chronic pain, from lack of access to high-quality pain care to the proliferation of costly and often ineffective treatments,” said Mihir M. Kamdar, MD, MGH Pain Physician and Digital Health Advisor. “Evidence-based models of care are still rare in digital health solutions even though they have the potential to address these gaps and give clinicians innovative and effective care options for their patients.”

Leverage Data-Driven Insights from De-Identified Patient Data

Fern Health will leverage clinical validation and implementation science, clinical protocol development, access to data-driven insights derived from de-identified patient data, third-party corroboration for peer-review publications, and FDA approval processes. 

“By evaluating digital health tools in a real-world clinical setting, we can provide distinctive insights, understand user preferences, and validate clinical protocols for optimal implementation and outcomes,” added Joseph C. Kvedar, MD, Senior Advisor, Virtual Care, Mass General Brigham; Professor of Dermatology, Harvard Medical School; and Senior Advisor, MGH Center for Innovation in Digital HealthCare. “This collaboration is designed to help advance pain management through digitally-delivered personalized exercise therapy, education, and health coaching—which early results suggest is occurring.” Dr. Kvedar is also President of the American Telemedicine Association (ATA).

Expansion into All Aspects of Non-Invasive Multimodal Pain Management

The collaboration also gives Fern Health substantial clinical and scientific data to expand into the broader ecosystem of digitally-delivered pain management platforms: 

– The Fern user experience will replicate how a patient might experience evidence-based, personalized treatment at a hospital-based pain management clinic. Rather than delivered in-person, treatment is delivered digitally and is accessible from anywhere.

– Informed by predictive analytics and an expansive MGH data set of 10 million de-identified patient records, personalized, evidence-based Fern patient treatment plans will leapfrog the performance of “one-size-fits-all” pain management platforms that are limited to publicly available data or their own user data.

– The collaboration will form the foundation from which Fern will launch new products and services rooted in collaborative care aimed at treating the whole person across physical, emotional, and behavioral considerations.

Why It Matters

One out of every two people suffer from MSK pain and the U.S. spends $380 billion on MSK conditions each year, contributing to MSK pain being the top driver of employer healthcare costs. Fern Health eases the burden on employers who face daunting pain management treatment economics. Provided as a benefits add-on for self-insured employers, Fern Health offers a biopsychosocial approach to pain management, including personalized restorative therapy, pain neuroscience education and virtual 1:1 health coaching. The company is currently engaged in pilot programs with several mid-size and large employers spanning the professional services, manufacturing and transportation sectors.

“At least half of the population suffers from physical pain and its cascade of effects across social, mental and emotional well-being,” said Travis Bond, CEO, Fern Health. “This initiative marries science, clinical rigor, artificial intelligence and incredibly rich historical patient data sets with digital care delivery. It’s a huge first step into a better future for pain management science and for the millions of people living with musculoskeletal pain today.” 

FDA Grants AppliedVR Breakthrough Designation for Virtual Reality Chronic Pain Treatment

FDA Grants AppliedVR Breakthrough Designation for Virtual Reality Chronic Pain Treatment

What You Should Know:

– FDA awards AppliedVR Breakthrough Device designation for
treating treatment-resistant fibromyalgia and chronic intractable lower back
pain

– AppliedVR’s EaseVRx program helps patients learn self-management skills grounded in evidence-based cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) principles and other behavioral methods.


AppliedVR,
a pioneer advancing the next generation of digital medicine, today announced
its EaseVRx product received Breakthrough Device designation from the U.S. Food
and Drug Administration (FDA) for treating treatment-resistant fibromyalgia and
chronic intractable lower back pain. EaseVRx is now one of the first virtual
reality (VR) digital therapeutics to get breakthrough designation to treat
conditions related to chronic pain.

What is the FDA Breakthrough Device Program?

The FDA Breakthrough Device Program helps patients receive more timely access to breakthrough technologies that could provide more effective treatment or diagnosis for life-threatening or irreversibly debilitating diseases or conditions. 

Clinical Trial Results/Outcomes

AppliedVR achieved this milestone after successfully
completing the first randomized controlled trial (RCT), evaluating VR-based
therapy for self-management of chronic pain at home. The RCT, which was
published in JMIR-FR,
found that a self-administered, skills-based VR treatment program for treating
chronic pain was feasible, scalable and was effective at improving on multiple
chronic pain outcomes – each of which met or exceeded the 30-percent threshold
to be clinically meaningful. On average, participants noted:

– Pain intensity reduced 30 percent;

– Pain-related activity interference reduced 37 percent;

– Pain-related mood interference reduced 50 percent;

– Pain-related sleep interference reduced 40 percent; and

– Pain-related stress interference reduced 49 percent.

EaseVRX Program Background

AppliedVR’s EaseVRx program helps patients learn self-management skills grounded in evidence-based cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) principles and other behavioral methods. The program was designed by AppliedVR, in partnership with the top pain experts and researchers, to improve self-regulation of cognitive, emotional, and physiological responses to stress and pain. AppliedVR has already been shown to be an effective treatment for acute pain in hospital settings

Why Virtual Reality Is An Effective Approach for Pain
Management

Lower back pain is one of the most common
chronic conditions that people face worldwide and represents one of the top
reasons why people miss work. Additionally, it’s an extremely
costly problem for insurers, especially as they look to cut costs related to back surgery. Recent research indicated that, when combined with neck pain,
lower back pain costs nearly $77 billion to private insurance, $45 billion to
public insurance, and $12 billion in out-of-pocket costs for patients.

Chronic pain more broadly also is a difficult and costly
problem that has contributed to many other major health problems in the U.S.,
including the opioid epidemic. A previous Johns Hopkins study in the Journal of
Pain found that chronic pain can cumulatively cost as high as $635 billion a year — more than the annual costs of
cancer, heart disease and diabetes — and lower back pain has been one of the most common reasons for prescribing opioids.
Cognitive behavioral therapies like VR are now seen by many providers as an
effective alternative or complement to pharmacological interventions that can
support their larger treatment tool belts.

“Since 1980, the American Chronic Pain Association has advocated a multidisciplinary approach to pain management—using a combination of medical and behavioral techniques to address pain,” said Penny Cowan, founder and CEO of the American Chronic Pain Association. “Virtual reality has the potential to be an important resource in this approach, helping people with pain to think differently about their conditions and learn strategies to reduce suffering and improve quality of life.”

Future Clinical Trials

AppliedVR is currently engaged in many other trials,
including feasibility studies with multiple well-known payers and with the
University of California at San Francisco (UCSF) to study how digital therapeutic platforms, including
virtual and augmented reality, can be used to improve care access for
underserved populations. AppliedVR also is advancing two clinical trials with
Geisinger and Cleveland Clinic to study VR as an opioid-sparing tool for acute
and chronic pain – specifically the company’s RelieVRx and EaseVRx platforms.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), part of the National Institutes of
Health (NIH), recently awarded $2.9 million grants to fund the trials.