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Physician Burnout App

By Tom Stibolt, MD, Mobile Musings Column Editor

There is a lot of data showing that physicians are burning out at an alarming rate. Burnout is a long-term stress reaction characterized by depersonalization, including cynical or negative attitudes toward patients, emotional exhaustion, a feeling of decreased personal achievement, and a lack of empathy for patients.

A gastroenterologist at Boston Children’s Hospital has developed a secure mobile and Web application to aid physicians in managing clinical care.

Michael Docktor, MD, clinical director of the Innovation and Digital Health Accelerator at Boston Children’s Hospital, notes that clinicians are often buried in email and Post-It notes. The Dock Health app is envisioned to reduce the hassles contributing to clinical burnout. Dock Health is a HIPAA compliant, team-based task management platform for collaborating, organizing, and delegating clinical tasks.

Physicians and nurses increasingly use either personal or hospital supplied phones to improve communication, while hopefully increasing efficiency and productivity. Dock Health creates the clinical hub for reliable care and productive teamwork. It also improves communication and transparency within the clinical team by creating visibility to the flow of tasks and enabling real-time communication and awareness of all the work to be done to improve patient care.

Docktor feels that clinicians are clamoring for well-designed productivity tools that are secure, have patient context, and help with the demands of modern communication. Using Dock Health with his team has changed the way he practices and reduced the group’s stress levels.

Pilot testing of the new app at Boston Children’s was started in early September in four departments. Pilot tests outside the organization will start soon. Docktor demonstrated the app at the Health 2.0 Conference in Santa Clara, California on Oct. 2.

Additional information can be obtained by sending an email to accelerator@childrens.harvard.edu. A number of other projects can be found at http://www.childrenshospital.org/accelerator/portfolio/heydoc.

Editor’s note: The ATS does not endorse any of the programs or products mentioned in this column.