A magazine for friends of the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University.

Slow Burn


Electronic health records are stressing doctors out. In a survey
of Rhode Island physicians, more than a third who practice primary care and dermatology said they have too little time for documentation, too much time charting at home, and frustrating user interfaces.

And that translates to burnout, says Associate Professor of Medicine Rebekah Gardner, MD: those specialties reported correspondingly high levels of burnout symptoms. She published her findings in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association.

Doctors who are burnt out may be more likely to struggle with their mental health, make mistakes that hurt patients, or leave the field. And EHRs are just one source of stress: hospitalists, for example, were among the least likely to report tech-related troubles, yet they had high levels of burnout.

“To me, it’s a signal to health care organizations that if they’re going to ‘fix’ burnout, one solution is not going to work for all physicians in their organization,” Gardner says.


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