Researchers underestimated the toll of EHR-related clinician burnout, study finds

By Hannah Mitchell for Becker’s Hospital Review

The informatics community did not accurately predict the major role EHRs would play in the clinician burnout crisis today, according to a study published Feb. 15 in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association.

In 2009, the American Medical Informatics Association met to discuss possible consequences associated with rapid EHR implementation after the HITECH Act’s passage the same year. At the American College of Medical Informatics 2020 annual meeting, policy experts reflected on the accuracy of these predictions about EHR-induced clinician burnout.

In a retrospective take, researchers found that medical documentation burnout was widely underestimated. In addition, concerns over identity theft and fraud were overestimated.

Of the two dozen ACMI fellows that participated in the retrospective session, zero said they felt the current burnout crisis was unpredictable. More than 60 percent answered that “had we worked harder, we could have anticipated this.”

The study concluded that EHR-related clinician burnout is significantly worse than anticipated. In the 2009 policy meeting, experts proposed recommendations to reduce EHR consequences but few of these recommendations were enacted, researchers found.

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