Dr Kathleen Blake Identifies the Biggest Stressors Causing Burnout

May 31, 2018

Electronic health records, interoperability, and quality measures are the biggest stressors causing clinician burnout, said Kathleen Blake, MD, MPH, vice president for Performance Improvement at the American Medical Association.

Electronic health records, interoperability, and quality measures are the biggest stressors causing clinician burnout, said Kathleen Blake, MD, MPH, vice president for Performance Improvement at the American Medical Association.

Transcript

What are the biggest stressors that have been identified as causing burnout?

One of the biggest ones is electronic health records systems. The American Medical Association did a study with researchers at the RAND corporation in 2013, another study in 2015. And what we heard from physicians, from practices across the country was: electronic health records systems are not helping me get my work done. We’ve done time-motion studies that now show that for every minute of face-to-face time, which is precious time with patients, physicians are spending 2 minutes with administrative tasks frequently involving the EHR. So, what we’d like to see: fewer of those tasks, only the ones that are necessary. Secondly, we’d like to see fewer clicks in the course of the day. And we now have the tools—time-motion studies and click monitors, so to speak—to be able to address that.

I think the second part is that when you are trying to bring in the information from all across the environment where an individual has received care—and this is particularly true, I’m sure, for oncology physicians—you need that information to be liquid. You need what’s called interoperability, so that another physician’s computer can talk with your computer. So, a lot of our efforts are focused on that.

And, then, thirdly, we also need some consistency. We found that some physician practices told us that they were reporting or being asked to report on close to 1000 quality measures. Each quality measure has to be implemented in your practice. That is an impossible task. Quality measurement is important, but it needs to be meaningful, it needs to be focused, and it needs to be feasible.

So, I think those are some of the major factors contributing to burnout.