In continuation of the Physician Roundtable Series, CareTrack was honored to host a forum for providers to collaborate and share their vast experiences.

With a focus on Mental Health Awareness Month, the virtual event opened the floor for each provider to discuss healthcare industry burnout, mental health management techniques for their colleagues and their patients, caring for aging patients, access to care in rural communities and more. 

Participants included:

  • Dr. Amy Eubanks, Tanner Medical Group
  • Dr. Ara Travers, USA Health, University of South Alabama
  • Dr. Bert Wall, Upson Regional Medical Center
  • Dr. Glenn Carter, Glenn Carter, M.D. 
  • Dr. David Smith, Primary Care Physicians of Atlanta


Burnout and Mental Health

It’s no question that the pandemic changed the scope of patient care overall. Since witnessing staff burnout following COVID, Dr. Eubanks has strived to be an advocate to her staff. She encourages staff to care for their mental health by implementing walks outside before or after work, meditating, focusing on their families and communicating more at the office.

This healthcare burnout also opened the door to the decline of overall providers. Many people avoid the healthcare field because of its lack of flexibility and pushing their capabilities. The group of seasoned providers agreed that understanding limits and being self-aware is a useful trait for physicians.

As part of an independent practice, Dr. Smith’s smaller team can make quick, nimble decisions on their own rather than relying on a larger hospital group. The support from his team allows for flexibility and strong relationships among colleagues and patients. 

The group agreed that collaboration is critical for caring for patients in the best way possible patients while giving relief to providers.

“The discussion quickly resolved into physician burnout. One area to help with burnout is to take advantage of the behind the scenes benefits CareTrack can provide,” said Dr. Carter, following the roundtable. 

Challenges to care access for patients in rural communities, financial issues, etc.

The providers also discussed healthcare equity due to external factors. Many patients live in rural communities with limited access to technology or healthcare resources typically more accessible in urban areas. 

Financial and educational resources are lacking in many rural communities, including in Dr. Carter’s, Dr. Eubanks’, and Dr. Wall’s patient populations. Some have issues with literacy, which leads to misunderstanding care plans and reduction in overall patient adherence. However, physicians make sure to provide as much information as possible during office visits to overcome these barriers. 

Paying for overall and custodial care is a great barrier, whether it is affordability or lack of understanding. Dr. Travers noted that the “sandwich generation” is caring for both their children and their aging parents. Educating this generation on access to care is key to helping the older population/their patients receive the most effective care. Weighing senior care options and preparing for the financial burden is a way that the aging population can be given better care. 

Challenges in caring for patients with cognitive decline, how to increase their independence

Candid conversations are necessary to keep aging patients healthy. Deficiencies and chronic conditions often require daily treatment and the older population should be encouraged to seek help and acknowledge any declining cognitive behavior, if present. 

Community groups are a resource for support and socialization amid the current Loneliness and Isolation Epidemic. Socializing and communication are proven ways for patients to connect with others: family members, friends, caregivers, local organizations, etc. These issues can also appear in rural communities, where these groups are not as involved, and many also face transportation barriers. 

Technology has allowed for more patient independence with remote solutions: CCM, RPM, patient portal access, regular checkup programs like Annual Wellness Visits and more. If a patient is unable, caregivers are a great resource to communicate with physicians. 

CareTrack’s team learned tangible ways to continue supporting providers and their practices from these incredibly talented physicians. Their sharing of the “juggles and struggles” and their unique experiences, while relating on core issues, was an invaluable session for all involved.

If you are interested in participating in an upcoming roundtable hosted by CareTrack, complete this form to learn more. We encourage you to invite your network and colleagues to join us on September 10. 

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