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Vast majority of physicians say data reporting detracting from satisfaction in their work

The Physician Misery Index has increased from 3.78 to 3.94 since 2015 despite increasing awareness of the prevalence of burnout.

Jeff Lagasse, Associate Editor

Another day, another round of bad news for physicians concerning job satisfaction and burnout. A new Geneia analysis finds the overwhelming majority of physicians -- 89 percent, in fact -- say the business and regulation of healthcare has changed the practice of medicine for the worse.

Depressingly, Geneia tracks something called the Physician Misery Index, and found that it has increased from 3.78 to 3.94 since 2015, despite increasing awareness of the prevalence of burnout.

IMPACT

An even bigger chunk of respondents, 96 percent, say the amount of time physicians spend on data input and reporting in the last 10 years has increased. And 86 percent agree that "the heightened demand for data reporting to support quality metrics and the business side of healthcare has diminished my joy in practicing medicine." Fifty-one percent "strongly agree" with that sentiment.

About 80 percent say they are personally at risk for burnout, and another 70 percent said they know a physician who is likely to stop practicing medicine in the next five years for those very reasons.

The jury is still out in terms of how physicians feel about the efficacy of electronic health records. About 52 percent have a mixed opinion on EHR impact in the workplace, and there's an almost-even split between those with solidly positive and negative feelings: 21 and 23 percent, respectively.

When it comes to the design of EHRs, however, the numbers become clear -- 96 percent believe EHRs should be better designed to seamlessly integrate with the technology systems used by their office and its insurance providers. Yet 57 percent say their EHRs don't currently integrate.

At 68 percent, a significant majority say they lack the appropriate staff and resources to analyze and use EHR data to its full potential, which may be a contributing factor to the frustration they express with the time and quantity of data required.

THE TREND

Similar findings were published earlier this month in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association. Common causes of EHR-related stress include too little time for documentation, time spent at home managing records and EHR user interfaces that are not intuitive to the physicians who use them.
 

Twitter: @JELagasse

Email the writer: jeff.lagasse@himssmedia.com