EHR Use Demands a Major Factor for Clinician Burnout in Cardiology
Over 35 percent of cardiologists are experiencing burnout and many believe it’s due to extensive EHR use.
Cardiologists who are experiencing clinician burnout and stress are more likely to have a high EHR use outside of the workplace, according to a survey from the American College of Cardiology’s Annual Scientific Session Together with World Congress of Cardiology.
The survey, which had over 2,000 respondents, found that over 35 percent of cardiologists are experiencing burnout, while nearly 45 percent said they are stressed.
“More than a third of cardiologists reported being burned out and nearly 44% were stressed, and this is alarming,” said Laxmi Mehta, MD, director of preventative cardiology and women’s cardiovascular health at Ohio State University and the study’s lead author. “Not only can burnout affect the quality of care they provide to patients, it also has many other negative personal and professional ramifications.”
Respondents who said they are burnt out and stressed are more likely to bring up a lack of control over workload, insufficient documentation time, and a hectic work environment. This most likely stems from documentation demands as a part of EHR use.
Respondents also noted that 24-hour work cycles aren’t out of the picture due to the ability to work remotely. It’s also typical for a cardiologist to have less than an hour a week of personal time due to the never ending workday.
“Cardiology remains a highly desirable medical specialty to pursue, but adverse work environments are consistently associated with burn out,” Mehta said. “We need to remember work-life balance is important and to take care of our patients and ourselves.”
Forty-one percent of respondents who worked 60 or more hours experienced exhaustion, while roughly 30 percent of respondents who worked 40-60 hours a week felt symptoms of burnout. For cardiologists who worked less than 40 hours a week, only 18 percent felt burnout symptoms.
This survey was based on participants’ definition and own interpretation of burnout. The author noted that burnout is popularly defined as, “the loss of passion for work, depersonalization and dissatisfaction with personal accomplishments while working in a stressful environment.”
Of those 35 percent of respondents who reported burnout, 23.9 percent said they were experiencing one or more symptoms of burnout, such as emotional exhaustion. Nearly 10 percent said they had chronic burnout symptoms and almost 2 percent said they were seeking outside help to aid their symptoms.
Optimizing the EHR is crucial to lessening clinician burnout and maintaining the EHR. Vendors are using new waves of technology to their advantage by attempting to aid the clinician’s productivity and efficiency within the EHR.
Clinicians jump from patient to patient and it’s common for this to cause cognitive burden. Providers face challenges when they have catch up on documentation, which is why implementing a well-designed EHR scribe tool into the workflow could help mitigate this issue.
“At that point you are relying on your memory,” Mark Grenitz, MD, said in an interview with EHRIntelligence. “You saw 12 or 15 people yesterday afternoon and now you’re trying to remember, ‘Was it Mrs. Johnson who said that or was it Mrs. Smith?’ And again, that’s not good for doctors. That’s not good for patients. It’s not good.”
Grenitz explained that it records the visit from start to finish, which decreases cognitive burden. Once the patient visit is complete, the medical professional can read and edit the transcript to create a summary of the visit.
The next time the patient returns for a visit, the clinician can quickly pull up the prior progress note to review and retrieve information on the patient.