39.5 percent of primary care physicians report experiencing EHR stress — 3 study insights

A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association tied EHR-use-related stress to increase physician burnout rates, MD Linx reports.

The Rhode Island Department of Health surveys practicing physicians every two years to gauge how they use health IT. The health department reached out to 4,197 physicians in the state and 43 percent responded. Of respondents, 91 percent used EHRs and 70 percent reported experiencing at least one measure of EHR-related stress.

Here's what you should know:

1. Respondents said EHRs added to the frustration they felt at work. Some respondents also spent time at home using EHRs and others said they had insufficient time to use EHRs at work.

2. Physicians with insufficient documentation time had 2.8 times the amount of burnout symptoms, compared to physicians with sufficient time. Physicians experiencing either of the other two measures had about two times the amount of burnout.

3. Primary care physicians reported feeling the most burnt-out. Among PCPs, 39.5 percent of general internists, 37 percent of family medicine physicians and 33.6 percent of pediatricians reported feeling burnout.

Researchers concluded, "HIT-related stress is measurable, common (about 70 percent among respondents), specialty-related and independently predictive of burnout symptoms. Identifying HIT-specific factors associated with burnout may guide healthcare organizations seeking to measure and remediate burnout among their physicians and staff."

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