The Link Between EHR Satisfaction and Clinician Burnout

by | May 2, 2022 | Healthcare

Reading Time: 4 minutes

While it might seem like the pandemic ushered in a great resignation from the medical profession, to many people it just shed light on many of the problems the profession was already dealing with. In some cases, the issue is doctors and nurses completely leaving the medical field. In other cases, it isn’t that they’re leaving the profession, but they are leaving one position for another elsewhere, possibly for more money or better conditions.

When staff is leaving or unhappy it has major repercussions for a healthcare organization. It costs money to replace the staff, and it is likely to have a negative impact on patient care. So what happens that causes the staff to leave, and what can be done to prevent it?

Nurses are most likely to leave

At the beginning of 2020, KLAS Research began surveying clinicians, asking them how likely they are to leave their organization in the next two years. In April 2022, with more than 59,000 clinicians responding, KLAS published a report with its findings. Nurses were consistently the group with the highest percentage of respondents saying they were likely to leave. The number was highest in the first quarter of 2021 at 26%, but it was still above 20% in the first quarter of 2022. Burnout is a major factor – among survey respondents who said they were completely burned out, 60% said they were likely to leave.

For a healthcare organization, a clinician leaving has a ripple effect that directly affects the quality of patient care. Either the organization is left short-staffed, or if they are lucky enough to find a qualified replacement, that person still needs time and resources devoted to training in the new workplace. The training aspect applies to the person who left for another job as well – they need to be trained themselves at their new organization.

EHR satisfaction plays a role

The report finds that as burnout increases, especially among nurses, so does the likelihood of leaving. Some of the main factors contributing to burnout are related to one’s work environment:

  • Not sharing the same values as organization leadership
  • Ineffective teamwork
  • Lack of autonomy in a job

But from the technology point of view, there is a strong correlation between overall EHR satisfaction and the likelihood that a clinician will leave an organization.

“Those who are very dissatisfied with the EHR have almost three times the proportion reporting they are likely to leave compared to clinicians who are very satisfied with the EHR,” the report states. “When clinicians feel the EHR is a help rather than a hindrance, they are more likely to want to stay at their organization.”

Data solutions

A better EHR experience can help retention. The report suggests healthcare leaders focus on the areas of EHR satisfaction with the most room to improve. A good overall EHR experience can be outweighed by issues with elements like reliability and quick response time.

There are other solutions involving data that can help make staff happy, though. In some places, a little bit of foresight can go a long way. Predictive analytics can help with that. Staffing leaders can use artificial intelligence to forecast patient census weeks in advance, leveraging data-driven predictions to assign or update staff based on actual demand and need. This helps make sure people aren’t overworked, and resources are being utilized for the greatest value, while ensuring that hospitals won’t exceed patient capacity.

One of the biggest factors that involves technology is letting the clinicians have a voice themselves. Make sure they are stakeholders in the decisions that are made – technologically and otherwise – that affect their work lives. There might not be major EHR issues that need to be addressed, but fixing the minor issues that the staff is dissatisfied with can go a long way in making workers feel appreciated. The result is not just an easier workday with what’s implemented…but a more satisfied workforce who had input into what is being used to improve those workdays.

To learn more about what data analytics can do for your EHR strategy, check out our whitepaper—”How to Accelerate EHR Insights with an Enterprise Analytics Platform.”

John Sucich
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