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Posted By Lauren Brawley On March 3, 2020

How to Prevent Physician Burnout

It is no secret stress and burnout are a cultural epidemic. 79% of the American workforce report feeling frequently stressed out.1 Of all the looming stressors in the workplace, workload resounds as the number one cause of stress.2 What are we doing to reduce stress in our workplaces? If stress could be reduced, burnout of employees would subsequently decrease. Additionally, how is the healthcare industry working to reduce physician burnout?

Burnout is defined as “long-term, unresolvable job-related stress that leads to exhaustion, cynicism, feelings of detachment from one’s job responsibilities, and lack of a sense of personal accomplishment.”3 Physicians often begin to experience stress and burnout when a role becomes focused on administrative tasks instead of the care they deliver. Clinical professionals get tied up in charting, responding to messages, and more while also juggling to see their expected amount of clients. 

The Correlation Between EHRs and Burnout

As discussed in our previous blog post, electronic health records are a hot topic when discussing physician burnout. Clinicians spend approximately half of their time on administrative tasks.4 EHR inboxes are often the culprit of these long clerical hours. Clinicians are frustrated by the complexity of messages, poor inbox design, and information overload. Multiple medical professionals report the inability of an EHR to create a smooth and efficient workflow. The endless clicks and difficult navigation of EHRs lead to frustrated employees. One physician stated, “I didn’t become a physician to do data entry.”5 EHRs have significantly changed the profession of medicine. How are we making sure change is for the better?

Reducing Burnout for Clinicians

For physicians, work overload and burnout does not have to be “just part of the job.” When practical tools are put in place, workflow efficiency increases. With the workforce evolving, clinicians constantly adapt to new technologies. If technologies hinder or increase workload, what is the benefit? While many industries have created technologies to automate workflow, EHRs have often added to the workflow. 

Successful EHR companies center their mission on enabling practitioners to excel in their practice. There must be an understanding clinical professionals are not in their field to be technological gurus. EHRs succeed when they are easy to learn. Clinicians excel with solutions t adapted with minimal headaches. Additionally, customization and personalization are critical in interface design. A customized and personalized solution will let users see only what is needed for daily tasks. When EHR usability is designed with the user at the center, clinicians can streamline their everyday work.

Open communication between clinicians and EHR vendors can ease the burden of burnout

Another key value in reducing physician burnout is open communication. It’s important to communicate openly with colleagues and supervisors when feeling burnt out. Clear, open communication is equally important with your software vendor. A positive experience requires shared information and an ongoing relationship between EHR vendors and healthcare professionals. The best software teams dedicate themselves to listening and improving as they serve their customers. 

Your EHR and Burnout

Patagonia Health centers our EHR on not only being easy-to-use but easy-to-learn. All technology is easy-to-use once a user masters it. Implementing an easy-to-learn software for clinicians eases stress and decreases the often frustrating steep learning curve of new technology. Additionally, Patagonia Health configures our software to match our customers’ clinical workflows. See for yourself how Patagonia Health can ease your workload. Contact us today to schedule a call and see a live demo.

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Resources:

 1 https://www.gallup.com/workplace/237059/employee-burnout-part-main-causes.aspx

2 https://www.compsych.com/press-room/press-article?nodeId=37b20f13-6b88-400e-9852-0f1028bd1ec1

3 https://www.medscape.com/slideshow/2020-lifestyle-burnout-6012460?src=WNL_physrep_200115_burnout2020&uac=348535CN&impID=2245489&faf=1#2

4 https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamanetworkopen/fullarticle/2752353?resultClick=3

5 https://www.kevinmd.com/blog/2018/08/i-didnt-become-a-physician-to-do-data-entry.html

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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.

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