Posted By Lauren Brawley On November 7, 2019

The Direct Correlation Between EHR Usability and Physician Burnout

physician burnout

Healthcare professionals agree Electronic Health Record (EHR) usability improves their everyday workflow. However, a new study suggests certain features of EHR solutions add unnecessary stress and physician burnout. Clinicians spend approximately half of their time on administrative tasks, according to a study by JAMA Network Open. The culprit of these long clerical hours? EHR inboxes. Clinicians are frustrated by the complexity of messages, poor inbox design, and information overload.

EHR Usability’s Impact on Clinicians

The study followed 25 physicians at 6 different healthcare sites, examining four EHR systems. The chief complaint of poor EHR usability focused on inbox messaging. This issue could be resolved with a more streamlined process for messaging. For example, a solution where patient information is accessible from the inbox would save time by requiring fewer clicks. Additionally, physicians complained about the overwhelming amount of messages they receive. Participants had positive experiences when EHR solutions offered flag reminders, instead. These visual aids help with the organization and prioritization of messages.

Creating a Positive EHR Experience 

User-centered design is key.  

Preferred EHR companies center their mission on enabling practitioners to excel in their practice. Electronic workflows should match the real-world workflow of a clinician. EHR usability often requires an adjustment to a new workflow. Unnecessary additional steps are taken to declutter inboxes and navigate through multiple clicks. Physicians spend between 49 to 85 minutes per day managing their EHR inbox alone. This time could be spent doing more important clinical work. That’s why customization and personalization are critical in interface design. When EHR usability is designed with the user at the center, clinicians can streamline their everyday work.

The value of a collaborative user experience.

Responsibility relies on healthcare organizations and EHR developers alike to improve the user experience.

A positive experience requires shared information, open communication, and an ongoing relationship between EHR vendors and healthcare professionals. Software teams should be dedicated to listening and improving as they serve their customers. 

For instance, the study showed users of the same software reported different benefits and difficulties. The implementation process of the same product is unique to different organizations as each site has custom needs. Therefore, it’s important for companies to host collaborative activities, such as user group meetings. These meetings gather users from different sites to share tactics and tips. User group meetings create an environment of connection. Users provide feedback to vendors and gain information from peers to enhance their daily EHR-related tasks.

Are you experiencing physician burnout due to EHR complexities? Patagonia Health understands how frustrating this can be. With our easy-to-learn apps-based software, users can customize and rearrange the interface to fit their organization’s unique workflow. Contact us today to learn more about how our user-focused solution considers your processes, freeing up your time to focus on providing the care and education your clients need most.


About Lauren Brawley

Lauren Brawley is a Marketing Specialist at Patagonia Health, a cloud-based EHR designed specifically for behavioral and public healthcare. Lauren integrates her strong communications skills with industry research to keep partners up to date on important Behavioral and Public Health resources and news.