To What Extent do Electronic Health Records Systems Contribute to Physician Burnout?
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE:
Melnick et al. (Mayo Clinic Proceedings, 2019) sought
Physician-perceived EHR usability (as defined by
a standardized metric of technology usability)
The association between EHRs and physician
Cross-sectional survey (2017 to 2018)
American Medical Association Physician
US physicians from all specialty disciplines
Physicians received an invitation to participate
via electronic survey
A secondary survey was sent out with “intensive
follow-up” to nonresponders to assess response bias
EHR usability assessed using the System
Usability Scale (SUS; range 0-100)
SUS scores normalized to percentile rankings
Burnout was measured using the Maslach Burnout
30,456 physicians were invited to take the survey
5,197 (17.1%) completion rate
870 (69.6%) completed usability subsurvey
The physician-determined SUS score was categorized in the “not acceptable” range, with a grade of F
Mean ± SD SUS score: 45.9 ± 21.9 (bottom 9% when benchmarked against other industry SUS scores)
Physician-rated EHR usability was independently associated with the odds of burnout
Each 1 point more favorable SUS score associated with a 3% lower odds of burnout
Odds ratio, 0.97 (95% CI, 0.97 to 0.98; P<0.001)
Finding was not altered by emotional exhaustion or other similar factors
The authors of this study concluded that there
is a “strong dose-response relationship” between EHR usability and burnout
The usability of current EHRs as assessed by US physicians using a standardized metric of technology usability is markedly lower than for most other technologies and falls into the grade category of F.
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