A Tale of Physician Burnout

It’s 8:34 pm on a Wednesday night. All the patients have left. The clinic is dark other than the emergency lighting that runs 24/7 and three office lights, illuminating the rooms for the doctors that are still filing documentation from earlier that day.
Pat Williams
10 min to read

Chapter 1: There Has Got To Be A Better Way

It’s 8:34 pm on a Wednesday night. All the patients have left. The clinic is dark other than the emergency lighting that runs 24/7 and three office lights, illuminating the rooms for the doctors that are still filing documentation from earlier that day. In one of those rooms sits Dr. Adam Johnson, at his desk, trying to recall all of the details from his appointments.

Adam enters his final note into the EHR system. Done! Adam thinks with a slight smile on his face. Then he looks at the clock, and his smile disappears. I was supposed to be home for dinner two hours ago, as he lets out a giant sigh.

There has got to be a better solution to all this documentation, so I won’t have to spend this extra time late at night filing paperwork.

Though he’s exhausted, Adam knows if he doesn’t start to do some research on improving the EHR documentation process, no one will. Adam starts searching for a solution.

Where do I even begin? He types into the search bar, “How to decrease clinic EHR paperwork” and finds an intriguing article: “Too much documentation? You could be experiencing physician burnout.”

Physician burnout? What’s that?

Adam clicks on the article. As Adam reads through the article, he begins to realize that physician burnout is a widespread problem with 55% of physicians who have experienced its symptoms. This emotional exhaustion isn’t just present in his personal career or in the clinic he works at, but throughout a majority of healthcare facilities.

As Adam reads through the common symptoms—exhaustion, depersonalization, and cynicism—he realizes how present they are in his life right now. I am always so tired at the end of the day, I just don’t have the energy to do anything! And depersonalization…well, I guess I don’t engage with patients as much as I used to. I used to be so excited about my work because I could truly make a difference in the health and lives of my patients. Now I feel like I don’t know why I even chose this career. Wow. I didn’t know these were signs of burnout.

After reading the seven effects of physician burnout, he immediately comes to the conclusion that if these effects start to take place, there is no hope for the future of his clinic.

Chapter 2: What is the Solution to Physician Burnout? 

As the night wears on, Adam is now eager to find a solution. He goes back to his search bar and types: “eliminate physician burnout.” Scanning through the search results, he comes across another article. He learns that one of the biggest causes of physician burnout is an overwhelming amount of EHR documentation tasks. Keeping the documentation up-to-date has become a major challenge that physicians have had to combat in addition to their other daily tasks.

Adam finds the results of a recent survey conducted about EHR use and physician burnout, which found that 43% of physicians believe EHR systems have hindered their productivity and 72% of physicians believe that their EHRs lack the ability to decrease any workload. Physicians often find themselves working late nights trying to finish up documentation and filing notes and appointments into the EHR system. Having to do this work manually drastically decreases productivity rates.

Well, I can completely agree with that.

Adam keeps digging deeper to find a specific solution for ending physician burnout. He comes across an article about mobile EHR, and what he reads makes a lot of sense. A mobile EHR system uses medical transcription services, which helps to decrease the need for time spent on documentation. Rather than typing information into the EHR system after appointments occur, the device records what you say and pulls that information into the EHR automatically. In some products, there is even a third party who edits the content so it can be clearly understood by anyone who reads it. In addition, Adam learns that having a mobile device in the exam room eliminates the screen barrier between you and your patient. This helps to increase patient engagement, ease patient communication, and eliminate the depersonalization symptom of physician burnout.

This sounds like a great solution! Adam is happy that he finally found a remedy that could work. As he leaves the clinic for the night, he feels optimistic that he won’t have to face physician burnout for much longer and cannot wait to share his findings with the clinic manager Emily.

The next day, Adam heads into Emily’s office to discuss his findings on mobile EHR. He explains that physician burnout exists at the clinic and if nothing changes, productivity will continue to dwindle, patients will become dissatisfied, and the clinic could experience malpractice and medical errors.

“I’m so glad you brought this to my attention. I really didn’t know that our own doctors are experiencing physician burnout. I’d love to help in any way that I can,” said Emily.

And with that, Adam responded, “I have the perfect solution.”

Chapter 3: A Few Months Later

“Hello, Ms. Davidson. How are you feeling today?” Adam asks as he walks into the exam room and sets his tablet on the desk. As the patient begins to explain her recovery from her surgery last week, the tablet records the conversation. Adam faces the patient and gives her his full attention rather than splitting his attention between her and the computer. The patient notices this and is pleased that her doctor cares so much about what she has to say.

As the appointment comes to an end, the recording uploads to the EHR system. Adam can’t believe how simple the documentation process has become since the clinic implemented mobile EHR for all of the physicians. He hasn’t had to stay late at the office in over a month to finish EHR documentation and is no longer experiencing the physician burnout he had three months ago.

Since the start of using mobile EHR, the clinic has seen an increase in productivity, an increase in the number of patients the clinic serves, an increase in patient satisfaction, and has had a monthly savings of $1000 per physician. Adam could not be happier that he searched for a solution to the challenge his clinic was facing.

It’s 8:34 pm on a Wednesday night. Where do you want to be?

If you want to experience the same results that Adam saw at his clinic, try iScribe today to see why mobile EHR is the solution that you have been searching for.

The future of healthcare is happening now.

AI isn’t here to replace doctors— it never could. But the provider who embraces AI will outperform the one who doesn’t. Every time.

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