The magnitude of this problem is simply astounding. A recent article published by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health is now calling the physician burnout epidemic a "public health crisis".
Why? In addition to the detriment burnout has on physician wellbeing, patients also suffer. As the authors of the study stated: “The issue of burnout is something we take incredibly seriously because physician wellbeing is linked to providing quality care and favorable outcomes for our patients”.
But what can we do about it? Here the authors, as with many other studies, identify the EHR as a central problem: “the growth in poorly designed digital health records and quality metrics has required that physicians spend more and more time on tasks that don’t directly benefit patients, contributing to a growing epidemic of physician burnout”.
The key, then, will be looking at the EHR with a fresh set of eyes to see where we can bring innovation and better design to allow physicians to do what they love: take care of their patients.