January 24, 2022
Technology can be a divisive subject especially when it comes to its effects on its users. Dating back decades, there’s always been a contentious debate over whether new technology is harming the mind. From the earliest introduction of computers, to the evolution of the internet, and now Electronic Health Record Systems, especially in regards to physician burnout. It’s not EHR burnout that’s being questioned but whether or not the use of EHR is the culprit. However, that’s not the case, instead, the cause of burnout among physicians is Covid-19.
Covid-19 physician burnout is a topic that has sprung up since the very start of the pandemic. This concept surrounds the heavy workload that’s been placed on medical staff all around the country. Considering physician burnout can be a difficult aspect of the job to measure, the debate over what’s attributed to it has increased. But the Klas Study has been one of the leading pieces of data to pinpoint where the burnout is deriving from.
Data shows that almost 20% of clinicians who report burnout in Q4 of 2021 attributed that burnout to Covid-19 and not EHRs. It’s also been shown that the rate of burnout has increased significantly over the course of the pandemic. Being that there’s been no change in EHRs, the true cause is clear.
EHR burnout is nothing new. It’s been a factor that those in the field have spoken about since its implementation. It does play a part in Covid-19 physician burnout but in an indirect way. The clinicians who experiencing burnout due to Covid-19 must use EHRs which ultimately leads to greater amounts of burnout. All contributing factors to clinician burnout have increased in 2020 and 2021. The Klas report surmises that not only the original Covid-19 strain is to blame but also other Covid-19 variants like Delta.
The Klas Study points out the factors behind clinician burnout via a study on nurses who worked throughout the pandemic. Data showed that since the start of Covid-19, the percentage of nurses who said they were likely to leave their organization within the next two years increased. This percentage jumped from 20% to 25%. Since the beginning of the pandemic, other EHR contributors have become less problematic for the nurses meaning that Coivid-19 and its high demand in the workplace has been the leading factor to clinician burnout.