Healthcare is a career in which burnout is an ongoing risk. Days are full, typically without enough hours in the day to get everything done at a reasonable pace. The potential for crises is always just around the corner, which sets the stage for emotional exhaustion. Burned-out medical personnel can depersonalize patients in an effort to maintain the ability to address stressful situations, which in turn can lead to a lower quality of patient care and less career satisfaction for the clinicians.
The Mayo Clinic explains that job-related burnout can arise from a lack of control over the day’s schedule and workload as well as from a lack of necessary resources. Activity extremes, such as ongoing chaos, contribute to burnout because of the constant output of energy that it requires. When work takes up too much time, life feels out of balance and, if a lack of sufficient social support exists, the problem can worsen. Mayo Clinic notes an additional source of stress: “You work in a helping profession, such as health care.”
Burnout leads to significant amounts of stress, which can cause fatigue, sadness, anger, and even vulnerability to illness—not the situation you want your clinicians to be in.
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) lists five contributing factors to physician burnout:
- Family responsibilities
- Time pressure
- Chaotic environment
- Low control of pacing
- EHR challenges
Not surprisingly, the pandemic has added to the challenges with significant staffing shortages further fueling feelings of being overwhelmed. A report from late 2021 notes that the percentage of nurses who plan to leave their place of employment within the next two years has gone up to about 25 percent.
Solutions for these challenges will need to come from multiple sources. In this article, we’ll focus on EHR challenges and how they can be minimized.
The American Medical Association (AMA) listed seven EHR challenges that create stress for doctors. Quoted from their site, they are as follows:
- Information overload
- Slow system response times
- Excessive data entry
- Inability to navigate the system quickly
- Note bloat
- Fear of missing something
- Notes geared toward billing, not patient care
Physicians can spend twice as much time navigating the EHR as they do with their patients when workflows are inefficient, the organization notes. Instead of receiving targeted information about a patient, they can receive an overload of unfiltered information and are “forced to navigate through a maze of tabs, subtabs, and pages of data as they attempt to find pertinent information.”
A report in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) suggests that, during EHR usage, the information display should mimic the “quiet dark” design philosophy used by airplane pilots. The pilots only see the information that requires their attention; doing something similar for clinicians can help to minimize information overload and help to reduce the likelihood of burnout.
This is closely related to “note bloat” frustration where repetitive information appears, drowning out data that’s currently relevant. JAMA recognizes the need for better EHR navigation. Too often, they share, EHR systems mimic two-dimensional paper records without taking advantage of more sophisticated capabilities. Plus, they share how physicians appreciate streamlined workflows that allow them to spend more time facing their patients instead of focusing their attention on screens.
It’s likely that clinicians at your healthcare facilities are experiencing some of these same burnout-producing challenges. What’s most important, then, is to find out the specific EHR problems that your medical personnel are encountering and provide customized solutions to address them.
When physicians participate in brainstorming as their healthcare organization is entering the EHR implementation or EHR optimization stage of a new system, this can help to create a much more user-friendly application.
EHR Consulting Services
When you recognize that your current EHR system isn’t meeting the needs of your medical teams, it’s likely that it isn’t optimal for other end users, either. We have EHR consultants in our network that can help you to choose a system that meets the specific needs of your healthcare organization.
EHR implementation experts in our network can help you to clarify your goals so that you meet and perhaps exceed the needs and expectations of your clinicians and other teams. Experts can work alongside you to craft tasks, timelines, and deadlines within your defined scope and budget.
Then, EHR optimization professionals can gather and analyze inputs from clinicians to consider what challenges currently exist and then customize the application to dovetail with workflows. Throughout the EHR optimization process, our experts will keep your challenges front of mind as they tailor solutions to seamlessly address them.
Our EHR consulting team also contains professional trainers that will design uniquely engaging and interactive programs to teach groups of end users how to navigate the new application. This is when your clinicians can experiment with usage in a relaxed, not-yet-live atmosphere, offer feedback, ask questions, and receive personalized answers.
Training sessions can be role based, process based, or super user based (where your IT team is taught how to train other teams)—or a combination. The end result will be confident end users.
If you’re ready to streamline EHR processes to enhance user experience and to create a single-source of real-time healthcare data, just let us know.
Contact HealthTECH Resources for Your EHR Consulting
We can help you to right-size your IT team through our top quality staff augmentation services. HealthTECH Resources has just one niche—staff supplementation for healthtech IT/EMR/EHR implementations—and our leadership can help you to analyze your in-house team for skills sets, specialities, bandwidth and more. Or, if you already know what EHR consulting experts you need, just let us know by contacting us online or calling (602) 903-7961.
Our boutique-style agency is the fastest, most knowledgeable, and reliable staff supplementation firm in the industry, and we’re here to help you.
PRESIDENT/CEO AT HEALTHTECH RESOURCES
Larry has specialized in building strategic healthcare relationships for over 25 years, helping the nation’s top payors and providers solve some of their most pressing business challenges through an intelligent mix of staffing services, training, and consulting.