Physician Burnout Prevention Through Investments in Health IT
Of all the complaints physicians have with hospital EHR systems, difficulty writing and reading clinical documentation often is at the top of the list. Stories of “note bloat” abound and the problem has garnered considerable attention from clinicians and academics alike. Particularly over the last decade, the clinical note has expanded to encompass many pages that regurgitate information contained in the EHR instead of being a concise, curated document that highlights the critical aspects of a patient’s care and the clinician’s thought process.
It is still incredibly important for physicians to take notes, but the current process is a form of disrespect, especially to the clinician. Even worse, there can be patient care repercussions if a covering provider cannot quickly find a patient’s most recent test results and treatment plan. Also, given the recent report that found that EHRs are a leading driver of physician burnout – costing up to $17 billion annually – the spotlight on documentation problems shines even brighter.
Of course, EHRs aren’t the only cause of physician burnout. The pace of today’s healthcare environment does not afford physicians the same opportunity to connect with patients as they used to. The average length of a hospital stay has decreased significantly, meaning that most patients in the hospital at any given time are really sick. As a result, physicians must devote considerable attention to each patient – and feed the EHR more information about each patient. For doctors, the burdens of caring for a sicker patient population, and the administrative tasks and documentation requirements that go along with it, make it more difficult (and stressful) to ensure quality care for every patient and to have a life outside of work.
One way for healthcare leaders to address this issue is to optimize clinician-facing IT for greater usability and consistency with provider workflow. When this happens, the negative impacts around physician documentation begin to fade into the background.
A PatientKeeper survey found that healthcare provider organizations that prioritize IT see marked improvements in their physician work experience when compared to organizations that don’t. Among the noteworthy data, 70 percent of healthcare providers see improved physician satisfaction when they prioritize IT, and 46 percent reported a reduced rate of physician burnout.
By investing in healthcare IT optimization, hospital executives can ease at least some of the pain of clinical documentation requirements. In doing so, they can eliminate one contributing factor for physician burnout, and take a meaningful step toward higher-quality care and improved patient safety.
To learn more about PatientKeeper’s EHR optimization solutions, click here.