Recent studies conducted by the Mayo Clinic and American Medical Association showed that 54% of responding physicians claimed to suffer from burnout in 2014, a 10% increase from 2011.
So what's responsible for the increase in physician burnout? The New England Journal of Medicine decided to find out.
In their report, entitled Why Physician Burnout Is Endemic, and How Health Care Must Respond, they summarize survey responses from 570 members – asking questions about burnout, why it happens and its implications.
And what did they find? The top reason given for burnout among physicians was clerical burden.
Why is clerical burden the worst problem?
"Respondents rate increased clerical burden, which is heavily influenced by expanded and more comprehensive use of electronic health records, as by far the biggest cause. In their current form, EHRs disrupt the workflow that many physicians have established over years in their practices, forcing them to carry their workload into off-hours, or “pajama time,” as it is often termed."
This is something we find to be very true for doctors across Canada.
Over 80% of physicians in our country are reimbursed under a 'fee-for-service' model where they submit claims for who they saw and what they did to their provincial health authority.
This process means that doctors have an extra burden of clerical duties in order to get paid. A typical doctor will have to spend a few hours each week on this type of paperwork, on top of their already full schedule.
If doctors are being asked to manage their own billing, shouldn't it be made easier for them?
We think so, and that's why we built a tool that doctors can use to complete their billing while they work, instead of disrupting their normal workflow and making them complete these clerical tasks outside of regular working hours.
The rest of the list
What's reason #2 for physician burnout? According to the study, it was increased productivity requirements & expectations, with 51% of respondents choosing this.
Or in other words, doctors are being asked to do more with less – and it's causing doctors to get burned out.
Rounding out the top six were:
An untenable payment/reimbursement model (21%)
Erosion of professionalism (21%)
Excessive metrics (18%)
Excessive work hours (11%)