Clinician burnout – a global phenomenon

Clinical burnout New Zealand

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Clinician burnout is on the rise not just in New Zealand, but across the globe and this is happening for many reasons. However, clinicians’ quality of work life can be improved by the quality of healthcare technology they use.

Healthcare professionals are burning out

Burnout is being experienced by many health professionals. Survey results from countries across the world provide an alarming picture of the current state of their well-being and raise the question of why their quality of life at work is so poor?

Research by the BMJ in May 2019 found that across the medical profession in the UK 55 percent of doctors have burnout, rising to 88 percent for GP partners. This has real consequences for healthcare as over 1,000 UK family doctors a year seek help from the GP Health Service.

Similarly, in the USA, a 2018 study by the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) found 83 percent of respondents said burnout was a “serious” or “moderate” problem in their facility. This trend is replicated in FranceChina and Australia to name a few.

Causes of clinical burnout

Burnout has multiple, complex roots that stem from issues of understaffing, long hours and high patient expectations. Ultimately though, it is a lack of time that creates burnout and an increase in extensive documentation or bureaucratic tasks related to electronic health records (EHR) fuels these underlying issues.

Research undertaken by JP Morgan, highlights the frustration felt by doctors who are spending considerably more time on EHR entries than on patient care. In France, a survey conducted by Les Echos Etudes on behalf of Nuance at the end of 2016 also showed the difficulties encountered by doctors and nurses in using EHRs. Whilst healthcare professionals agree there are benefits of using the EHR in terms of traceability and security, many still find using it complex and unwieldy to use and significantly draining on time.

There is an ever-increasing number of doctors who are quitting practice and putting an end to their career citing the demands of clinical documentation. This poses a problem for medical demography as record numbers of healthcare staff are leaving the profession. In the UK, for example, currently around one in 11 NHS posts are unfilled.

Optimising the use of technology in healthcare

For clinicians, the challenge is in the EHR: checkboxes, numerous drop-down menus, multiple fields to complete and seemingly endless mouse clicks. Doctors are adapting their workflow to fit technology as opposed to technology augmenting doctors’ productivity and releasing time for them to care.

Find out how to avoid burnout and improve clinical documentation by using speech recognition technology to help you work smarter and quicker instead of harder and longer. Dragon Speech recognition technology:

  • Turns voice into text three to four times faster than typing
  • Instantly captures patient stories at the point of care
  • Speeds up navigation and avoids multiple clicks and scrolling
  • Streamlines and simplifies the clinical documentation process

Millions of doctors now use Nuance’s medical voice recognition technology and 94 percent feel that it helps them do their job better. Regardless of specialty or care setting, doctors recommend speech recognition, because it allows them to use EHRs more easily and quickly.

By Dr Simon Wallace

Find out how speech-to-text technology and digital dictation will help you work smarter.

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