Sanford Health addresses physician burnout via the EHR

Leaders at Sioux Falls, S.D.-based Sanford Health are focusing on a common area to reduce physician burnout: the EHR.

The 45-hospital system has been working to reduce clicks and administrative burden in the EHR, with some of the changes so subtle that providers might not even notice.

"We also have to be sure that we're communicating back and making people realize the things we have changed," said Heather Spies, MD, physician director of clinician experience and well-being at Sanford Health, in a May 21 health system podcast. "Because sometimes we just have our head to the ground and we're taking care of our patients, and we think, oh, yeah, I haven't noticed that BPA [best practice advisory] alert as much as I did."

Addressing EHR efficiency is the No. 1 long-term solution for boosting physician well-being and resilience, said Kevin Hopkins, MD, senior physician advisor with the American Medical Association, during the podcast. He noted, however, that the national physician burnout rate has declined to 48% from 63% in the third quarter of 2021.

"We also want to communicate consistently," Dr. Spies said in the episode. "So asking for feedback from our clinicians, what EHR burdens that we have reduced have really been helpful, and which ones are new that are now bothering you, or that haven't been fixed yet that are building more than we realized. So really that collaborating and the communication piece, I think, we've made big strides on and … we're seeing some improvement."

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