Volume of Patient Call Messages takes Toll on Clinicians & Associated with Burnout


EHR vendors often tout their tools to improve efficiency and to streamline workflows as a way to decrease burnout among clinicians.

However, except for good old fashioned “copy and paste,” these efficiency tools may not help clinicians feel less stressed out. This is according to a new study entitled “Are specific elements of electronic health record use associated with clinician burnout more than others?” published in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association.

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The study was authored by Dr. Ross Hilliard from the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, Jacqueline Haskell from Healthcentric Advisors, and Dr. Rebekah Gardner from Healthcentric Advisors and Alpert Medical School.

The authors found that clinicians who frequently used copy and paste to write their notes had 80% lower odds of reporting burnout symptoms.

The study also showed that clinicians with the most patient call messages (including both actual patients calls as well as other tasks in supporting patient care between visits such as medication refills, referral requests, authorization forms, disability paperwork, communication with other clinicians, etc.) had almost four times the odds of burnout compared to clinicians with the fewest.

The authors matched EHR use data to results from a 2017 statewide survey of 422 outpatient clinicians on technology and burnout. They were seeking to identify whether certain components of work within the EHR contribute more to burnout than others. And were particularly focused on workload and vendor-identified efficiency tools within the EHR itself.

The authors recommend reducing or redistributing the volume of inbox tasks, improving EHR usability, and customizing support for clinicians.

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