Physician burnout linked to time spent on digital record-keeping

Oct 25th, 2016 | By | Category: Services

By Sarah Glenn
For the Journal

In July, the Mayo Clinic Journal Proceedings published a paper that tied physician burnout to their increasing use of cumbersome electronic health systems. The study looked at several months of 2014 survey data from 6,560 U.S. physicians measuring features of work life, including burnout and electronic use. Even after controlling for factors like age, sex, specialty and the number of hours doctors work per week, the researchers found a strong link between burnout and time spent doing digital work. Of the many physicians who used electronic health records, 44 percent were dissatisfied with them and nearly 63 percent of doctors believed that EHRs made their jobs less efficient. Nearly half of doctors said that they spent an unreasonable amount of time on clerical tasks related to patient care. MedScape conducts an annual survey of the causes of physician burnout. The top reported reason for burnout was “too many bureaucratic tasks.” The biggest change in the survey involved electronic medical records. “Increasing computerization of practice” rose from the ninth highest cause of burnout in 2013 to fourth this year. In a 2014 Medscape survey of physicians, 70 percent said that the EHR decreased their face-toface time with patients. And 57 percent noted that it detracted from their ability to see patients. According to the 2014 Physicians Foundation survey, although 85 percent of physicians have now implemented EHRs, only 32 percent say they have improved practice. And 46 percent say they have detracted from efficiency.

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