5 Simple Strategies for Shrinking Workplace Stress, Starting with Prior Authorization Software
Did you know that April is “Stress Awareness Month”? The designation first began in 1992, but stress, burnout, and mental health weren’t exactly headline news back then. Times certainly have changed. As in other areas of life, the COVID-19 pandemic exposed and exacerbated stress—especially among the healthcare workforce—but it also acted as a catalyst, bringing more visibility to the issue.
Stress is a major contributor to health issues, including mental and physical conditions. In the workplace, stress can lead to decreased productivity, increased absenteeism, and poor morale. One area where stress is especially prevalent is in healthcare organizations, and that’s particularly concerning because of ongoing staffing shortages. As Surgeon General Vivek noted in an Advisory released last year, “Confronting the long-standing drivers of burnout among our health workers must be a top national priority.” Prior authorization software does just that.
Automating prior authorization takes the load off staff and clinicians
The Surgeon General isn’t the only one to sound the alarm on rising workplace stress and burnout. In 2021, the journal Frontiers in Public Health published an article in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, that emphasized: “Before the memory of the pandemic response starts to fade, appropriate evidence-based measures and interventions must be put in place and actioned to protect the mental health and well-being of the healthcare workforce—not only during public health crises, but on a day-to-day basis.” Prior authorization tops the list as a day-to-day task that burdens clinicians and office staff alike.
With prior authorization software like Myndshft, clinicians and staff get a reprieve from time-consuming, manual data entry. Transactions like benefits verification and eligibility checks, prior authorization requirements determinations, and gathering and submission of prior authorization requests take place with minimal data entry. Instead, the software uses best-in-class APIs to quickly and securely compile relevant patient details along with clinical documentation and submit it to payers via their preferred submission method. In addition, it does the heavy lifting from the payer side too. Clinical decisions support and data-driven auto adjudication enables payers to make informed decisions, faster, benefiting all involved.
What other strategies help manage stress?
A little stress is normal. It’s actually a built in response that has helped humans survive for thousands of years. But the stress that spurs you to perform well under pressure is different than the stress that contributes to burnout. Too much stress creates a domino effect. As Clinical psychologist Adam Borland, PsyD notes in a Cleveland Clinic blog, “A large body of research suggests that increased stress levels interfere with your ability to deal with physical illness. While no one can avoid all stress, you can work to handle it in healthy ways that increase your potential to recover.”
4 more tips for improving stress management
1. Practice open communication.
This is actually one of the ground rules here at Myndshft. How does communicating help with stress? Fostering a culture of open communication in the workplace can help surface staff concerns and ignite ideas for improvement, creating a more supportive environment that identifies and addresses potential stressors early.
2. Keep caffeine intake in check.
According to a study conducted at The Ohio State University, caffeine caused 2X the levels of epinephrine and cortisol, which are involved in stress response, and raises blood pressure, compared with participants given a placebo. So, while a morning cup of joe may be what you need to jumpstart your day, mainlining caffeinated beverages all day can turn your get up and go into jittery nerves.
3. Walk it off, literally.
Exercise can help when you feel the signs of stress coming on. Make time to stand and stretch every hour. It can relieve muscle tension, helping you feel less stressed. Taking a short walk can also boost your mood. (Bonus: More activity also improves your sleep, which can contribute to lower stress as well.)
4. Give meditation or mindfulness a try.
Meditation and mindfulness promote relaxation, mental clarity and emotional well-being. In turn, this helps with stress. How? These techniques often center on deep, slow breathing, which activates the body’s relaxation response and reduces stress hormones. Not sure how to get started? There’s an app for that. (Many, actually.)
If you aren’t comfortable with the idea of guided meditation, mindful walking might be a good alternative. It combines the benefits of exercise with present-moment mindfulness as you let other thoughts go to focus on each step and breathe in your surroundings.
Stress awareness shouldn’t end when April does
Healthcare settings are stressful by their very nature. For that reason alone, identifying sources of stress in the workplace provides clear direction for addressing burnout. By removing a day-to-day stressor like prior authorization with software that automates the process, you alleviate a burden for staff and clinicians so they can focus on more fulfilling, patient-centric work. Add in stress reduction practices like good communication, healthy diet, exercise, mindfulness, and everyone will be better prepared to manage stress as it comes.