How to restore the physician-patient relationship in medicine, limit technology misuse 

The misuse of clinical technology can result in increased rates of clinician burnout and spark issues with patient care.

During Becker's Hospital Review's 5th Annual Health IT + Revenue Cycle event in Chicago on Oct. 10, panelists discussed health IT's impact on medicine and how technology is contributing to clinician burnout. Cynthia Hines, owner and principal of ExecHelp & Consulting, moderated the panel, which featured the following participants:

· Rajan Gurunathan, MD, chief of general medicine at SBH Health System in New York City. 
· Vitality Herasevich, MD, PhD, anesthesiology and medicine professor at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.
· Zeev Neuwirth, MD, chief clinical director for care transformation and strategic services at Atrium Health in Charlotte, N.C.
· Geoff Caplea, MD, medical director of regulatory affairs, patient safety and public health at Allscripts.

Here are five takeaways from the session:

1. While technology can help support healthcare workflows, most clinical technology was not designed with input from clinicians. These technologies and software look great from an engineering perspective, but they do not adequaltely accommodate clinical workflows and the clinical end users.

2. To help bridge the gap between technology developers and clinicians, more and more vendors are hiring clinicians to provide input and help with designing products to make improvements to their technologies, which are central to the physician-patient relationship.

3. Up until now, the basis of health IT has been about reporting and tracking care, with less emphasis on optimizing the physician-patient relationship and figuring out how to provide care not just when in front of the patient. The question as the healthcare industry moves toward using mobile devices and applications is how to leverage that technology to shift from a strictly reporting function and improve workflows.

4. Burnout is multifactorial. It is not limited to physicians; it affects clinicians across the board. Various factors contribute to burnout, such as delivery system reform, technology or lack thereof, individual capabilities and reimbursement requirements, among others. To tackle clinician burnout, it is important to acknowledge the scope of the issue and target individual areas to regain control instead of addressing the entirety of the problem head on.

5. To help alleviate health IT-induced clinician burnout, healthcare organizations and vendors should call on the expertise of the technology's users, whether that be physicians, nurses or patients. Enlisting end users for feedback and help with the design process ensures the product is more tailored to their workflow needs and can reduce frustration associated with burnout.

Don't miss the Becker's 3rd Annual Health IT + Clinical Leadership + Pharmacy event in Chicago, May 19-21, 2020. Click here to learn more and register.

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