MDsyncNET Blog

Alleviating Physician Burnout with Cloud-Based On-Call Schedules

According to a study led by Mayo Clinic, the growth and evolution of the electronic environment in healthcare is taking a toll on U.S. physicians. Mayo Clinic researchers found that the use of electronic health records and computerized physician order entry decreased physician satisfaction and led to higher rates of professional burnout. In fact, studies led by the same researcher suggest that more than half of U.S. physicians are experiencing professional burnout. Unfortunately, it is not only doctors who suffer from physician burnout; patients are affected, too. Physician burnout reduces both patient satisfaction and quality of care, and it jeopardizes patient safety.

Reasons for such a startling rate of physician burnout are complex and include both individual and organizational factors. However, many physicians state that information overload, frequent interruptions, and the switch to electronic health records (EHRs) and computerized physician order entry (CPOE) are all factors. "Electronic health records hold great promise for enhancing coordination of care and improving quality of care," says Tait Shanafelt, M.D., Mayo Clinic physician and lead author of the study. "In their current form and implementation, however, they have had a number of unintended negative consequences including reducing efficiency, increasing clerical burden and increasing the risk of burnout for physicians."

Electronic health records have been cited as the biggest driver of physician job dissatisfaction, according to Christine Sinsky, M.D., a former hospitalist and currently vice president of professional satisfaction at the American Medical Association. Sinsky found that 70% - 80% of physician work output could be considered waste. She defined waste as work that doesn’t need to be done and doesn’t add value to the patient. One of the suggestions she had to address this problem was to employ a documentation scribe, someone who would accompany physicians on patient rounds to help with the clerical tasks that distract physicians from patient care. “Be bold,” she advised hospitalists. “The patient care delivery modes of the future can’t be met with staffing models from the past.”

At the end of the day, electronic health records, CPOE, and patient portals are here to stay. These tools hold promise for reducing errors and improving the quality of care. To counterbalance unintended consequences, hospitals would be well served by adopting technologies that reduce physician burdens. For example, MDsyncNET’s On-Call Scheduling software delivers real-time accurate schedules that prevent miscommunication and wasted effort. MDsyncNET offers seven other software modules that streamline processes and put the brakes on burnout throughout the organization.

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