Doctors who use electronic health records (EHR) – an electronic version of a patient’s medical history – tend to have a higher risk of burnout, according to a new study conducted by Mayo Clinic and published online on its website.
In this study, lead author Dr. Tait Shanafelt states that computerized physician order entry is inefficient and forces doctors to feel overworked. He says that in the past tasks that would be accomplished with verbal or written order in less than 30 seconds, now that has changed because of this new electronic system, doctors take more than five minutes to accomplished them.
In collaboration with the American Medical Association, Shanafelt, and other colleagues analyzed a survey of more than 6,500 physicians that use electronic medical records.
The survey revealed that physicians who use electronic records were 33 percent less satisfied with the time they spend working on the electronic health record. Also, it showed that doctors who use electronic systems have a 29 percent higher risk of burnout in comparison with other doctors.
According to this study, physician burnout can cause a decrease in the quality offered to patients. Also, this could encourage doctors to reduce their work hours or even worst, to abandon their profession.
Shanafelt added that the electronic system is affecting physicians personal lives because they are allowed to check them at home which extends their work day. According to the survey, doctors spend more than 10 hours a week completing the EHR when there are at home, at night and on the weekends.
He believes that medical scribes or nurses could work with of the EHR, so doctors do not feel overworked. They could fill out the electronic forms and responds patients’ electronic messages.
EHR are meant for helping bill insurance
There are a lot of issues regarding EHR. President of the American Academy of Family Physicians Dr. Wanda Filer said that health electronic devices were not mean to be for reducing doctors’ work, but for helping bill insurance. Even when a patient has a head cold, doctors have to document in detail vast amounts of clinical data. For physicians, this is consuming.
The filter also claims that health officials imposed the adoption of new electronic systems before even being tested. It is important that programmers build a new regime that can be helpful for doctors, she added.
“We spent millions of practice dollars for substandard systems that have slowed down our workflow, reduced the number of people we can see each day and caused even longer delays for visits and in the waiting room,” Filer said.
Source: US News and World Report