Long hours, an overabundance of bureaucratic tasks, and perceived lack of respect from coworkers and administrators are the perfect recipe for physician burnout, if Medscape’s 2018 Physician Burnout and Depression Report is to be believed. Another source cited—increasing reliance on electronic health records—may also be the gateway to reducing the risk for burnout, however, according to a new article published online by Advisory Board. The difference between an EHR’s potential to be a burden or part of the solution, according to the article, lies in the clinician’s ability to use the system efficiently. The quicker and more easily they engage the system—which requires optimizing its features—the faster they can get away from the associated tasks and back to providing patient care. From an urgent care operator’s perspective, one key recommendation in the article is to identify clinicians who may not be as proficient in working in the EHR space as others—which can actually be tracked using efficiency data built into better EHR systems—and offer additional training and support. That contact in itself is likely to take some of the pressure off. In addition, the article suggests evaluating what tasks are taking the most time when physicians are engaging the EHR, and considering if there are other team members who could take them on (for example, scribes or voice recognition to help with documentation).
Optimizing EHR Functions May Help Prevent Physician Burnout