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Tuesday, July 7, 2020 12:15 PM

4 Tips to Lower the Rate of Physician Burnout

Written by Mark H. Johnson, MHA, RN-BC, CPHIMS, FHIMSS, Vice President, Sales and Marketing - iatricSystems

Physician Burnout - FlexButton - Blog Header June 2020

Physician burnout affects the person experiencing it as well as the people – and patients – around them. According to a study published in the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine, 31 percent of primary care physicians experience burnout, mostly due to EHR implementation, long hours on computerized work, and bureaucratic tasks.

Experts stress that programs need to focus on strengthening the work environment of practices to address high levels of anxiety experienced by physicians, advanced practice clinicians, and staff or risk the following consequences:

  • Lower patient satisfaction and quality of care
  • Higher medical error rates and malpractice risk
  • Increased physician and staff turnover rates
  • Physician alcohol and drug abuse and addiction
  • Possible physician suicide

We’ve listed a few tips below to lower the rate of physician burnout.

Tip #1 – Rethink How You View Your EHR

We’ve all heard the cheesy saying, “Change your view, change your life.” While simply changing your view won’t solve all of your problems surrounding physician burnout, changing your view of your EHR is a good place to start.

EHRs are not going to go away, so having a negative attitude towards the system isn’t an effective strategy. A great first step is to notice how others use the EHR – remember that your colleagues face the same challenges and frustrations as you do.

Take the time to see if they know things you don’t and can offer assistance, ask if you can watch them chart to find keystroke combinations that could help you streamline the process and keep you from bringing home excess work.  

Tip #2 – Turn Redundancies into Automated Tasks

The goal of EHR software is to help you semi-automate tasks, yet many users are still typing the same note numerous times a week without even realizing the time toll it’s taking.

If you find yourself writing the same note over and over again, instead of jumping to frustration, recognize the new opportunity that you’ve found something that you can automate to get you home sooner.

As you notice these moments, write them down and then once a week, take one of those items and make a template for future use. This will be a great way to start automating tasks without feeling overwhelmed by the process.

Tip #3 – Simplify with Batch Processing

Ask yourself – and your team – what are all the little tasks that interrupt your day? These are the things that are not urgent but have to be done before the day is over that you can put into batches to complete at the same time, twice a day.

Once you’ve figured that out, you can pick an item from the list and design a batch processing. A quick example to consider is how your nurses screen lab results as they come in and alert you between patients about abnormal values.

Instead, you could have all lab results batched in a lab folder in your EHR, that will process in the morning and evening (or at a time that works for you).

Tip #4 – Check in with Your Team

Speaking out about physician burnout can be difficult; no one wants to admit that they’re not performing up to their standards or feel like their letting down their team.

Take the time during your daily huddles to check in with your team. Ask them how they’re doing in their work and personal lives; this includes the good and bad – the goal is to get an open conversation going.

Also, thank the members of your team, be specific to show acknowledgment and appreciation for the excellent work they’ve done.

After reading the research and gathering insights, it seems like the best ways to decrease physician burnout related to a simple goal – to make the job a little easier.

Listen to your physicians to understand the bumps in the road when it comes to the technology they use. If one of their frustrations is having to spend time searching in other systems to get information when they need it – we can help.

FlexButtonTM from iatricSystems can alert clinicians within their EHR workflow to relevant patient data that resides in other systems or automatically bring data from other systems into your EHR workflow.

This tool makes the EHR experience more efficient to get clinicians in and out of the EHR faster with fewer headaches. Check out this video to learn more, or contact us at for more information.