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Jerris Heaton

Simplifying EHR Messaging Improves Physician Lives

December 23, 2019

Clinician, EHR 3 Minute Read

A cluttered email inbox can be a nuisance, making it difficult to locate important messages and manage communications. But for most email users, someone’s health or well-being doesn’t hang in the balance of a single message—unless, of course, you’re a physician. Now that patient’s health records have gone digital, each day, physicians must devote untold hours sitting in front of a computer sifting through countless inbox messages to retrieve patient-pertinent messaging such as test results, medication refills, and other patient information. The ad infinitum of these messages can lead to burnout, job disaffection, and even elevated patient safety risk. That’s why ChartLogic improved our EHR, simplifying EHR inboxes.

EHR Quality of Life

A Plethora of Pain Points

A study published in JAMA Network Open found that there’s a correlation between EHR inbox usability and physician burnout, safety, and efficiency. The study interviewed 25 physicians at six healthcare organizations to identify their pain points related to EHR inbox design and workflow. Physicians reported that having to make endless clicks while navigating their inbox as a source of persistent frustration. They also remarked that inbox interfaces are usually too complex and full of unused features. Further, physicians mentioned that low-value and duplicate messages often distract from critical messaging which requires a rapid response. These problem areas aren’t just challenging for physicians—they’re exceedingly taxing and can degrade their quality of life.

Too Many Messages Contribute to Burnout

Physicians enter the field of medicine to help patients, not to stare at a computer screen. However, due to the impracticality of EHR inboxes, excessive screen time often ends up being the case for these professionals. Researchers at the University of California San Diego surveyed more than 900 physicians and found that respondents received, on average, 243 inbox messages each week. Half of these were generated by the EHR system itself, including automatic maintenance notifications, requests for prior authorization, and patient reminders.

Doctors received only 30 messages per week directly from patients, 53 from other clinicians, while 31 were generated by the doctors themselves (i.e., lab tests they had ordered). Time-intensive inbox tasks are seen as a culprit in the rising physician burnout rate, with 36% of surveyed physicians reporting burnout symptoms. In fact, 45% of physicians experiencing burnout received greater than average system-generated messages, which suggests that reducing the volume of EHR-generated messages could help improve on-the-job satisfaction.

Too Many Messages

We’ve Simplified EHR Inboxes

At ChartLogic, we’re always looking for ways to improve our software so that it provides greater functionality, utility, and value. We’ve studied research on the topic of inbox management and listened to physician feedback, enabling us to upgrade our EHR messaging system so that physicians receive the critical information they need with fewer system-generated notifications. These improvements will lower the risk of overlooking or losing essential information while reducing the amount of time physicians spend clicking through their inbox.

Helping to reduce burnout while increasing safety, Chartlogic’s new, clean EHR inbox interface was thoughtfully designed to simplify EHR messaging, enabling physicians to move on to more productive tasks and reclaim time that can then be devoted to what matters most in their lives. Click to learn more about the features found in our EHR solutions.

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