Primary care physicians most likely to report EHR-related burnout, study finds

EHR-related burnout hits some physician specialties more than others, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association.

Researchers surveyed more than 4,000 physicians in Rhode Island during 2017 about their use of and attitudes toward health IT to assess how stress associated with these systems predicts their likelihood to report burnout. Nearly 2,000 physicians responded, 26 percent of whom reported burnout.

Among EHR users, 70 percent reported they've experienced stress related to health IT, such as having little time for documentation or spending excessive time on EHRs at home.

Physicians in primary care specialties, such as internists and family medicine physicians, reported the highest prevalence of EHR-related stress. By contrast, less than 10 percent of anesthesiologists, radiologists and hospital medicine specialists reported measures of stress related to EHRs.

"To me, it's a signal to healthcare organizations that if they're going to 'fix' burnout, one solution is not going to work for all physicians in their organization," said lead author Rebekah Gardner, MD, associate professor of medicine at Brown University's Warren Alpert Medical School in Providence, R.I.

"They need to look at the physicians by specialty and make sure that if they are looking for a technology-related solution, then that's really the problem in their group," she continued.

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