Stress related to use of health information technology (HIT) is common and predictive of burnout among physicians, according to a study published online Dec. 5 in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association.
Rebekah L. Gardner, M.D., from Warren Alpert Medical School at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, and colleagues surveyed 4,197 practicing physicians in Rhode Island in 2017 on their HIT use. Self-reported burnout was the main outcome. Report of at least one of the following defined the presence of HIT-related stress: poor/marginal time for documentation, moderately high/excessive time spent on the electronic health record (EHR) at home, or agreement that using an EHR adds to daily frustration. The researchers examined the correlation between each HIT-related stress measure and burnout.
They found that 26 percent of the 1,792 physician respondents reported burnout. Seventy percent of the EHR users reported HIT-related stress; prevalence was highest in primary care-oriented specialties. The odds of burnout were increased for physicians reporting poor/marginal time for documentation compared with those reporting sufficient time (odds ratio, 2.8), for physicians reporting moderately high/excessive time on EHRs at home compared with those with minimal/no EHR use at home (odds ratio, 1.9), and for physicians who agreed that EHRs add to their daily frustration compared with those who disagreed (odds ratio, 2.4).
"Based on our results and the work of others, we recommend that health care organizations regularly and systematically measure HIT-related stress and burnout among their workforce," the authors write.