How organizations can combat physician burnout with data integration

Angie Stewart - Print  | 

More than half of all physicians report at least one symptom of burnout, and they're responding by cutting back hours or leaving medicine altogether, according to ECG Management Consultants' Principal Robin Settle. By 2030, the U.S. is expected to face a clinician shortage of up to 120,000, Ms. Settle said.

During Becker's 4th Annual Health IT + Revenue Cycle Conference, Sept. 21 in Chicago, Ms. Settle and ECG Management Consultants Senior Manager Rick Roesemeier discussed what caused this declining physician satisfaction and how data integration can help fix the problem.

In the past 30 years, providers have experienced the jarring transition from paper records to widespread EHR use, as well as the emergence of patient portals, telemedicine, e-visits and other technological advances previously unimaginable. With the electronic exchange of information continuing to grow, poorly integrated data is a huge burden for providers, according to Ms. Settle.

"The EHR has really been a big influence on provider satisfaction. You hear the joy of medicine [is taken away] — providers saying, 'I've become a data entry clerk.' It can be kind of depressing."

Ms. Settle said preventing this disillusionment requires integrating devices with EHRs in a way that enhances workflow rather than disrupting it — and gives providers critical data without causing information overload.

Organizations can achieve successful integration by standardizing workflows, catering to physicians' workflows with personalized features and supporting them with continuous training and engagement, Mr. Roesemeier said.

"Physicians and providers got into this business to see patients," he said. "So, they will find a way to use the tool, but it doesn't necessarily mean it’s the most efficient and effective way. That's our job to help them use the tools and technology, so they can get back to seeing patients and doing the things they want to do, and not managing the frustration and the workarounds they're going through today."

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