Practitioner Burnout Is On The Rise

A recent lifestyle report by Medscape revealed that 46% of the physicians that took part in the study believed they are now in a state of physical burnout. Another study indicates that that figure jumps to approximately 60% in the case of neurosurgeons.

A major factor in this rise of emotional stress and physical fatigue is the simple matter of medical practitioners trying to do more in a day than most people, and trying to maintain that pace for long periods of time. There has been an emphasis on trying to treat more patients during a typical day, but because more information than ever is required for digital documentation in the Electronic Health Record, physicians and nurse practitioners are forced to either try to treat a patient while being their own secretary and entering in the data, or sacrifice time after hours to put the data in. On top of that, there are still other administrative tasks such as billing that need to be worked out, and, if they have any sort of family, there’s still the need to be a good parent at the end of the day.

This burnout can have many significant negative effects over time. Physical and emotional exhaustion are just one possible effect. Others, perhaps even more alarming are “depersonalization,” where a medical practitioner stops viewing patients as people, merely as objects on an assembly line that must be moved as quickly as possible. Physicians can also experience a sense of reduced personal accomplishment, as the constant work to help those in need starts to feel insurmountable, and rather than seeing the good they’ve accomplished in each individual, they see a never ending task with no point in continuing.

A Medical Scribe is one way to help fight this burnout. Wrestling with the facility and legal requirements of the EHR can sometimes take up to 40% of a patient consultation, impacting heavily both on the quality of the patient interaction, and taking up time that could go to another consultation. By treating patients more efficiently, treating more patients during the day, and actually being able to leave the ED or clinic at the end of the day rather than keep late hours catching up on paperwork, a tremendous burden is taken from a medical practitioners shoulders. 

The medical profession is advancing with new tools and information, but somewhere along the line, we forgot that there are still people with very real limits using these tools and organizing this information. Instead of making them deal with more and more of it, we should be finding more effective ways to move the information elsewhere so the medical practitioners can do their job. An experienced scribe like the ones we offer at Proscribe is one such solution.