How to deal with physician burnout? It’s a question many continue to ask as physicians become exhausted, retire early, or leave the profession. About 44% of physicians feel burned out, a 2019 Medscape study found.
Just as important a question is how technology can help reduce burnout, rather than contribute to it. The electronic health record (EHR) was created to provide easier access to medical data and support clinical decision-making, but it’s often cited as a source of frustration.
Dr. Jeff Livingston, CEO of MacArthur Medical Center in Irving, Texas, recently spoke to Greenway about his approach to technology.
He suggested two steps to help turn technology into a tool that solves problems at a practice.
Appoint a “superuser” who stays up to date and learns new features. A practice superuser is trained to navigate the electronic health record (EHR) system and teach others at the practice to do the same. Read more about superuser training.
Establish a process to integrate and scale the new features across the practice. By having a process in place to walk physicians through new EHR features, practices can adopt more easily.
When people talk about the EHR, they don’t use word “tool,” a practicing rheumatologist observed.
“It should be just like a stethoscope,” she said. “It should be just like a reflex hammer … something that’s part of how we get through the day, and just let doctors be doctors.”
In-house knowledge and established processes can reduce guesswork and slowdowns and allow physicians to use EHRs as the medical tool they were designed to be.
How to deal with physician burnout
There are many reasons why a physician feels burned out on any given day. It could be fatigue from a late night, being backed up on tasks, or anticipating an upcoming surgery.
“One of the things that I really like to do in my life is to understand why I'm feeling that in the first place and then to address the underlying cause,” Dr. Livingston said.
If the physician focuses on his or her opportunity to impact lives, that could change the course of the day, he said.
Burnout can affect all members of a practice staff, who may face long hours, daunting workloads, or administrative learning curves. Click here for more on managing the demands of a busy practice.
Don't let your EHR be the reason you feel burned out. Consider the resources available to you. It can be a team approach!
For more information, CLICK HERE to schedule a conversation with a Greenway representative. Or watch our 3-minute overview video HERE.