Are EHRs Contributing to Physician Burnout?

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Are EHRs Contributing to Physician Burnout?
Are EHRs Contributing to Physician Burnout?

HealthDay News -- Physicians using electronic practice tools report higher rates of burnout and increased frustration with the amount of computerized paperwork, according to research published in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

Of 6375 active physicians, 5389 (84.5%) reported use of electronic health records (EHRs). Of 5892 physicians who reported relevance of computerized physician order entry (CPOE) to their practice, 4858 (82.5%) reported use of it. The doctors who used EHRs and CPOE reported decreased satisfaction with amount of time spent on clerical tasks and had higher rates of burnout on univariate analysis. In adjusted models, use of EHRs was not associated with burnout when controlling for CPOE and other factors.

"Physician burnout has been linked to decreased quality of care and medical errors, as well as an increase in the likelihood physicians will cut back their work hours or leave the profession," lead author Tait Shanafelt, MD, a Mayo Clinic hematologist and oncologist, told HealthDay. "These electronic tools also give physicians access to the medical records when at home, which has extended the physician work day," he said. "Studies suggest physicians spend more than 10 hours per week interacting with the EHR after they go home from the office, on nights and weekends."

Dr Shanafelt said support staff such as medical scribes or nurses might be able to take some of the burden off physicians. These members of the doctor's medical team could fill out the computerized forms and respond to electronic messages from patients.


Shanafelt T, Dyrbye L, Sinsky C, et al. Relationship Between Clerical Burden and Characteristics of the Electronic Environment With Physician Burnout and Professional Satisfaction. Mayo Clin Proc. 2016. doi:10.1016/j.mayocp.2016.05.007.

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