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EHR Information Overload Adds to Clinician Burnout, Stress

The majority of physicians in a national survey said EHR information overload raises stress levels, and 30 percent said it contributes to clinician burnout.

While the majority of physicians report that their EHR helps them provide high-quality care, EHR information overload remains a challenge for clinician burnout, according to a survey from EHR vendor athenahealth conducted by The Harris Poll.

The annual Physician Sentiment survey polled 1,003 primary care and specialist physicians nationwide, with five percent of respondents identifying as athenahealth customers.

Nearly all physicians (94 percent) surveyed said that getting the right clinical data at the right time is very important. However, most physicians (80 percent) agreed that more clinical data is not always the key to higher-quality care.

In fact, 63 percent of physicians indicate that EHR information overload adds to their stress level. For many physicians, information overload is a growing cause of their regular burnout (30 percent in 2023 vs. 24 percent in 2022).

Overall, 93 percent of physicians surveyed said that they feel burned out regularly, with physicians reporting that they spend an average of 15 hours per week working outside their normal work hours.

When asked about their employment situation, 56 percent of respondents said they have considered leaving the field or remaining in the field but not seeing patients.

However, the survey results suggest that many physicians are hopeful that advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) could help address challenges across the industry (83 percent).

Most respondents (60 percent) noted the loss of human touch as a potential challenge regarding the use of AI.

Four in 10 physicians report concern that AI will ultimately be one more thing to complicate healthcare (42 percent). Additionally, 40 percent of respondents said that AI is being overhyped and cannot meet industry expectations.

Clinicians who believed in the positive potential of AI are more hopeful about the future of the healthcare industry overall, and they also felt less burned out on a regular basis than those who were pessimistic about AI’s role in healthcare.

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