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Clinician Burnout, EHR Satisfaction Linked to Likelihood to Leave Org

A KLAS report suggests that addressing early signs of clinician burnout and improving EHR satisfaction could help healthcare organizations retain employees.

EHR satisfaction and clinician burnout are correlated with the likelihood that a provider is planning to leave their organization, according to a KLAS report based on survey responses from 59,000 clinicians.

Clinicians who are very dissatisfied with the EHR have almost three times the proportion reporting they are likely to leave compared to clinicians who are very satisfied with the EHR.

“When clinicians feel the EHR is a help rather than a hindrance, they are more likely to want to stay at their organization,” the authors wrote. “Healthcare leaders should focus on improving the areas of EHR satisfaction with the most room to improve.”

On a basic level, organizations must ensure their EHR has solid reliability and quick response time, as these issues can overpower an otherwise satisfactory EHR experience.

The report emphasized that simply learning the EHR’s functionality does not mean a clinician will be successful or satisfied with the EHR.

Previous KLAS research found that clinicians who strongly disagree their training was specific to their workflow are more than twice as likely to report planning to leave their organization than those who strongly agree training complemented their workflows.

Satisfaction with ongoing EHR training also correlates with how likely a clinician is to leave their organization. The percentage of those who strongly disagree ongoing training is sufficient are twice as likely to leave compared to the group that strongly agrees ongoing training is adequate.

Additionally, the report found that satisfaction with the EHR vendor influences clinicians’ likelihood to leave their organization. Clinicians who strongly disagree that their vendor has designed a high-quality EHR have a much higher chance of planning to leave (32 percent) than those who strongly agree (12 percent).

The survey revealed that easy access to clinical summaries impacts clinicians’ likelihood of staying at an organization; 33 percent of clinicians strongly disagree that clinical summaries are easy to access report being likely to leave.

“Organizations can address low satisfaction with this metric by streamlining or standardizing workflows and providing better training,” the authors wrote. “For instance, improving ease of access to clinical summaries can be accomplished by reducing the number of clicks it takes to get to clinical summaries and ensuring there is a standard process for accessing them that all end users are trained on.”

The report found that nurses are the most likely to have plans to leave in the next year compared to other clinical backgrounds. In Q1 of 2021, 26 percent of surveyed nurses reported plans to leave, which could be attributable to the increase in acute COVID-19 cases and the resulting strain on healthcare workers. Clinician burnout also grew in Q1 of 2021.

As clinician burnout increases, so does the likelihood to leave, suggesting that addressing the problems of burned-out clinicians could help mitigate turnover.

“Attrition could also be lowered by preventing clinicians from becoming severely burned out in the first place—while clinicians who are completely burned out are most likely to leave, attrition likelihood grows rapidly beginning with those who report definite symptoms of burnout,” the authors wrote.

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