In the past, multitasking seemed like a good thing. In fact, hiring managers would insist on finding people who could do ten things at once. This was seen as a means for increasing productivity, and therefore revenue. However, with advances in technology and the improvement of software solutions, many tasks can now be automated so your staff doesn’t have to deal with the overwhelm of multitasking.
Working in healthcare is already stressful enough, and each day comes with its own demands and challenges. When you expect multitasking on top of it, you inevitably add stress to your staff’s daily lives and negatively affect their mood, motivation, and productivity. Employees who are regularly bombarded with multiple streams of electronic data get distracted and can’t fully give their attention to one task; it also becomes increasingly difficult for them to control their memory or switch from one task to another.
How Multitasking Can Actually Hurt Your Center
There’s nothing wrong with multitasking on occasion. Many of your staff members do it anyway as part of their day-to-day roles so they can complete their tasks and remain productive. Expecting it regularly from your staff, however, can have a negative effect on your center as a whole, especially for those working with electronic information. Here are just a handful of the consequences of multitasking:
Decreased Attention and Memory Loss
Those who constantly juggle many types of electronic tasks and media have problems focusing their attention. They also take a lot longer to switch between tasks and don’t score well on memory tests compared to those who focus on one task at a time.
Contrary to what managers used to think, juggling many different tasks at once actually makes people less productive. Each time someone switches from one task to another, they lose a bit of time as their brain tries to shift gears. When this keeps happening, all the lost time adds up. If you’ve ever struggled to switch your attention from one thing to another, then you know exactly what we mean.
Increased Stress Levels
Several studies show that multitasking has a negative physical effect on the body. Apart from the negative effects on cognition, multitasking has also been shown to trigger the release of stress hormones and adrenaline. Instead of getting more done, employees end up requiring more time to complete more tasks. To compensate for the decrease in productivity, employees need to multitask even more. Increased stress levels are proven to cause sickness, which means more missed days of work and an overall decrease in productivity.
More Tasks, More Mistakes
This is a direct result of a lack of focus, which is characteristic of multitasking. When one is trying to complete multiple tasks at once, their mind ends up being divided, so it’s natural to end up with mistakes. In addition, research shows that individuals who do a lot of multitasking aren’t any good at filtering out irrelevant information, which means a high chance of mental cross-firing and overlap between tasks. This is dangerous in healthcare, as it poses a risk to patient safety.
One of the most significant side effects of multitasking is anxiety, which plagues those who consistently split their attention. Anxiety is one of the symptoms of interrupted work. While the business world used to encourage multitasking, a lot of new information has surfaced showing that multitasking causes decreased focus, memory impairment, and an increase in anxiety and stress that leads to unhappier and less productive employees.
Make Your Center Productive and Profitable Without Multitasking
It’s common in any job to have multiple things going on at once, but if it’s ongoing, then you’re going to see the negative effects of multitasking plague your center, including burnout, turnover, sickness, and increased errors.
Instead of overworking your staff through multitasking and dealing with the consequences, be proactive and improve your organization using our professional healthcare RCM services. If you’re ready to maximize your organization’s collections and revenue, set up a quick consultation with our team today. We’re ready to help you figure out the best next steps to turn around your numbers and get the results you need!