2021 Inline Sessions: Primary Care Strategy - 2021 & Beyond

Apr 06, 2021

Primary care is the cornerstone of healthcare. A key component of preventative medicine, primary care closes health disparities and increases positive outcomes. For this Inline Session, Aisha DeBerry of Bon Secours Mercy Health discussed the future of primary care, post-pandemic.

Much like healthcare facilities across the country, Bon Secours put their recruitment on hold in March 2020. But the pause didn’t last long. Opportunities opened back up and Bon Secours ended up recruiting just as many physicians in 2020 as they did in 2019. But if hiring didn’t change, what did? We’re all familiar with the answer by now: virtual interviewing. Physicians began accepting opportunities without ever stepping foot on-site at their hiring facilities. For Bon Secours recruiting team, the question became,

“How do we find the right candidate without meeting them in person?”

While the answer is different for every facility, virtual interviewing has proven to be cost-effective for the hiring process. Recruiters are now able to further screen candidates before the on-site interview, thus saving money on travel expenses.

So if healthcare facilities are keeping their physician staff full, what does the future of primary care delivery look like? You probably guessed this one right too: telehealth.

COVID made health systems nationwide pivot to telehealth. Luckily for Bon Secours, they had already implemented a strong telemedicine platform prior to the pandemic. Their hospitals went from seeing roughly 50 patients a day to up to 3,400 patients a day, all thanks to telemedicine. And the result of these telehealth appointments? Better physician/patient interactions.

Telehealth access allows patients to see their primary care provider not only for yearly checkups, but for colds, sore throats, etc. (i.e. concerns they’d typically go to urgent care to address). Thanks to this ease of access, Bon Secours patient satisfaction scores elevated higher than they were pre-COVID.

Despite all of the unforeseen positive outcomes from the pandemic, one issue still remains: physician burnout.

A hot topic before COVID, the pandemic only amplified the impact on physicians. 64% of surveyed U.S. physicians said the pandemic intensified their burnout. In the same study, when asked how they coped with pandemic stress, 29% said they were eating more and 19% said they were drinking more alcohol. Consider that as many as 400 doctors commit suicide each year, more than twice the rate of the general population.

Bon Secours is taking steps to help stop burnout from having such an impact by beginning their 2020 Action Plan for Physician Well-Being.

For details on what the plan includes and how Bon Secours Mercy health is improving the physician experience, watch the full Inline Session with Aisha DeBerry by clicking here. You’ll gain free access to this and all previous Inline Sessions.