Docs using EHRs, CPOE less satisfied, more likely to burn out

Use of electronic health records and computerized physician order entry (CPOE) reduces physician satisfaction and contributes to higher rates of burnout, according to a new study from the Mayo Clinic published in Mayo Clinical Proceedings.

The researchers surveyed 6,560 physicians in active clinical practice nationwide between August and October 2014. Most (84.5 percent) indicated that they used EHRs; 82.5 percent used CPOE. However, the number of physicians unhappy with the systems outweighed those who were happy with them.

Of those who used EHRs, only 36 percent were satisfied or very satisfied with them; 43.7 percent were dissatisfied or very dissatisfied. Of those who used CPOE, 38 percent were satisfied or very satisfied; 41.9 percent were dissatisfied or very dissatisfied.

Physicians who used EHRs and CPOE had higher rates of burnout, whether or not they were satisfied with their systems. Of the physicians who used EHRs, only 36.3 percent agreed or strongly agreed that the systems improved patient care, and only 23 percent believed that they improved efficiency. Only 21.9 percent of physicians using a patient portal believed that the portal increased their efficiency.

Pathologists and pediatricians reported the most satisfaction; ophthalmologists, preventive/occupational medicine doctors and otolaryngologists had the least satisfaction. Younger physicians, in general, were more satisfied with their systems than older ones.

“Although electronic health records, electronic prescribing and computerized physician order entry have been touted as ways to improve quality of care, these tools also create clerical burden, cognitive burden, frequent interruptions and distraction--all of which can contribute to physician burnout,” lead study author Tait Shanafelt, M.D., said. “Burnout has been shown to erode quality of care, increase risk of medical errors, and lead physicians to reduce clinical work hours, suggesting that the net effect of these electronic tools on quality of care for the U.S. healthcare system is less clear.”

To learn more: 
- here's the abstract
- check out the announcement