HealthDay News — Data from a large national study in the U.S. found that physician satisfaction with electronic health records (EHRs) and computerized physician order entry (CPOE) was low across the board, and that increased frustration related to computerized paperwork may be contributing to high risk of professional burnout. These results were published in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

Of 6375 active physicians, 5 389 (84.5%) reported use of EHRs. Of 5892 physicians who reported relevance of CPOE to their practice, 4 858 (82.5%) reported use of it. 

The doctors who used EHRs and CPOE reported decreased satisfaction with amount of time spent on clerical tasks and had higher rates of burnout on univariate analysis. In adjusted models, use of EHRs was not associated with burnout when controlling for CPOE and other factors.


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“Physician burnout has been linked to decreased quality of care and medical errors, as well as an increase in the likelihood physicians will cut back their work hours or leave the profession,” lead author Tait Shanafelt, MD, a Mayo Clinic hematologist and oncologist, told HealthDay

“These electronic tools also give physicians access to the medical records when at home, which has extended the physician work day,” he said. “Studies suggest physicians spend more than 10 hours per week interacting with the EHR after they go home from the office, on nights and weekends.”

Dr Shanafelt said support staff such as medical scribes or nurses might be able to take some of the burden off physicians. These members of the doctor’s medical team could fill out the computerized forms and respond to electronic messages from patients.

Reference

Shanafelt T, Dyrbye L, Sinsky C, et al. Relationship Between Clerical Burden and Characteristics of the Electronic Environment With Physician Burnout and Professional Satisfaction. Mayo Clin Proc. 2016.  Published online ahead of print June 27, 2016. doi:10.1016/j.mayocp.2016.05.007.