Physician stress and burnout is a critical issue for many orthopaedic clinics. In fact, according to a study featured in the US National Library of Medicine (NLM), “Of the 1,792 physician respondents (43% response rate), 26% reported burnout.” This means that more than one in four care providers is experiencing stress on a level that may drive them to retire early or look for a new career. So, naturally, there are numerous “physician burnout resources” being created to help address the issue.
What’s the cause of this stress? More importantly, how can you reduce or eliminate physician burnout in your own practice? Surprisingly enough, Electronic Health Records (EHR) solutions can be the answer to both of these questions.
What is Causing Physician Stress and Burnout?
According to the NLM study, “Among EHR users (91%), 70% reported HIT-related stress… After adjustment, physicians reporting poor/marginal time for documentation had 2.8 times the odds of burnout.” HIT, or Health Information Technology, includes things such as EHR solutions, picture archiving and communication system (PACS), and practice management (PM) software.
Part of the reason many of these technologies can be a source of stress for orthopaedic physicians is that they provide an exceptionally poor user experience. A lackluster EHR experience can mean a lot of extra time is wasted on sifting through irrelevant forms and manually dictating patient visit notes.
This, in turn, leads to orthopaedic doctors spending hours on nothing but paperwork and working around their EHR solutions instead of working with patients. For an orthopaedic physician who has to see between 60 and 80 patients a day, even just five minutes of paperwork per patient can mean over five or six hours of paperwork. To an orthopaedic doctor, it’s like having a second full-time job where all they do is process paperwork without getting paid. No wonder that doctors across the country are burning out!
Improving EHR usability and finding ways to streamline the experience is crucial for reducing physician burnout. But, how can orthopaedic practices improve their EHR solution and eliminate (or at least reduce) burnout amongst their staff?
Improving EHR Usability by Leveraging an Orthopaedic-Specific Solution
One of the best ways to reduce the amount of stress that EHR solutions place on an orthopaedic practice’s physicians is to use a software that is designed and optimized for the clinic’s specialty instead of a primary care-based care EHR solution.
Using a software that is designed specifically for orthopaedic practices helps to amplify the benefits of EHR over paper charts—especially when it comes to saving time and improving patient outcomes. Instead of having to sort through dozens of forms and report templates for conditions that they’ll never have to diagnose, orthopaedic physicians will only be presented with the forms and reports that matter to them. This can save a lot of effort and mouse clicks over the course of a single day, let alone an entire year.
Finding the right EHR solution can be difficult. However, some things to look for include:
- A fully-integrated image workflow. A built-in PACS solution can help to eliminate data entry errors in imaging orders and simplify image management.
- Provider-specific adaptive learning. In other words, the ability for the software to remember the preferences of individual caregivers.
- One-click report generation for frequently-diagnosed indications. Saves time by reducing pages-long reports for commonly-diagnosed injuries down to a single mouse click.
- Patient-facing features such as an online patient portal. An EHR solution that allows patients to access their profiles, edit health history info, and pay their outstanding balances online can save incredible amounts of time and money while improving collection rates and patient satisfaction.
- EHR Solution Training. Does the EHR vendor offer training in their software that can turn physicians and administrative staff into super users that can then teach everyone else how to best use the software? This training can help improve the EHR experience for everyone in the practice.
Are you ready to save time and money with your EHR solution rather than waste it? Reach out to the team at Phoenix Ortho to learn more about how you can leverage the power of an orthopaedic-specific EHR now.