As caregivers, we all fall victim to “alert fatigue,” when the sheer number of alerts a clinician receives causes them to unknowingly miss important safety warnings. Ironically, all these alerts that are meant to improve patient safety can cause workers to become desensitized and potentially miss important warnings; from incessant smartphone buzzing, to tablet chimes or the blinking red indicators of your EHR.
Clinician burnout is a topic we’ve covered in detail here on the MEDITECH blog, and for good reason. Long nights of excessive documentation are taking time away from clinicians, interfering with their relationships with patients.
We’ve compiled some recommendations from clinicians and industry leaders on how to address staff burnout.
We’ve all sat through meetings where important tasks are discussed, but when it comes time to delegate the work or follow-up afterward, things get lost in the shuffle. This is especially common for those of us working in a hectic Emergency Department.
A hot topic of conversation in the last few months has been the Annals of Family Medicine study observing that primary care physicians spend an average of 86 minutes of “pajama time” each night catching up on work from the day.
This study was co-written by researchers from the AMA, which brought to mind their 8 EHR Usability Principles that were published in 2014. At the time these principles were published, MEDITECH was delivering Expanse to our first early adopters, having had the foresight to see what was coming and redesign our software at a time when others were continuing to just add functionality on top of existing workflows.
According to the CDC, between 20% - 50% of antibiotics prescribed in U.S. acute care hospitals were deemed unnecessary or inappropriate. That staggering statistic got us at HCA thinking. We knew that there was an overuse of antibiotics, but I'm not sure that any of us realized the extent of the problem.
This scenario is all too familiar: It’s nine o’clock at night and a physician is at home catching up on documentation after a full day of patient visits. A recent survey found that physicians were spending two hours of their personal time every night on documentation. Physician burnout is an acknowledged issue within the industry, and many healthcare organizations are developing plans to combat it. In addition to the toll on the physicians, there is an impact on patient care. The Joint Commission recently issued a report specifically citing clinician burnout as a contributing factor to adverse events.
When your institution decides to implement or upgrade your EHR system — and let’s face it, the question is no longer ‘if’ or ‘when,’ but ‘how’ — clarity of vision and an alignment of effort toward a successful strategy are often major challenges.
It’s no secret that one of the biggest challenges for doctors in healthcare today is physician burnout. A study by the Mayo Clinic found that 54.4 percent of responding doctors reported having at least one symptom of burnout and The Physicians Foundation found that nearly half, 49 percent, of the doctors surveyed said they “often or always experience feelings of burnout.” EHRs can be a contributing factor to this. According to a 2017 study, on average, physicians spent only 50 percent of their time on face-to-face interaction with patients, committing the rest of their time and energy to “desktop medicine.”
Preparing your medical staff for an Electronic Health Record implementation takes a lot of time and effort. A fundamental key to success is proper clinical communication strategies; taking into account everyone who is involved with patient care delivery, while ensuring constant dialogue about the implementation.
I hear it more and more from my colleagues: They’re feeling burnt out.
Studies of physician satisfaction find that doctors are reducing the number of patients they see, and report feelings of emotional exhaustion, loss of enthusiasm, and depersonalization of patient care. The most recent study by the Physicians Foundation found that nearly half, 49 percent, of the doctors surveyed said they “often or always experience feelings of burn-out [sic].”