Poorly Designed EHR Systems are the Major Cause of Physician Burnout

Poorly designed EHR systems have been a major cause of physician burnout. Also, these digital reports are of little use and hamper patient’s care. Physicians have been facing burnout epidemic and are 15% more likely to face burnout symptoms than other professionals.

This article will examine several analytics and statistics to lay out some recommendations to reduce physician’s burnout and produce efficient EHR systems.

Becker’s Hospital Review 9th Annual Meeting:

Becker’s Hospital Review’s 9th annual meeting held in 2018 observed that:

  • The reported physician burnout has increased from 40% in 2017 to 51% in 2018.
  • It takes 5 hours a day for an internal medicine resident to enter data for 10 patients.
  • According to 56% physicians, documentation contributes to the burnout.
  • 24% physicians have blamed computerization through poorly designed EHR systems to be the cause for the burnout.
  • Over 56% physicians suggested that bureaucratic tasks should be reduced. 39% suggested that less time should be spent on documentation.

19th Management of the Hospitalized Patient Conference:

A conference was managed by University of California, San Francisco to understand the opinion that EHRs are key drivers of physician burnout. According to Christine Sinsky, vice president of Professional Satisfaction at American Medical Association (AMA):

“Implementation of poorly designed Electronic Health Record (EHR) has been observed as the biggest driver of physician job dissatisfaction.”

After visiting 23 high-functioning medical teams, she cited that 70-80% of physician’s work output could be referred to as waste or not useful in terms of patient’s health and care. She further stressed that future needs of the physicians do not include EHR systems that are least effective.

A Crisis in Healthcare: A Call to Action on Physician Burnout:

A paper jointly prepared by Harvard Global Health Institute, Harvard T.H Chan School of Public Health, the Massachusetts Medical Society and the Massachusetts Health and Hospital Association presents that:

  • Physician burnout in which physicians lose satisfaction and sense of efficacy in their work has become a public health crisis.
  • Certification standards have not been reformed by the Federal government lately.
  • The design and implementation of EHRs has to be effective and less time-consuming.
  • The quality measurement requirements for physicians that include excessive documentation has led to increased stress rather than improved performance.

As is evident through so many studies and researches, poorly designed EHR systems have been playing a key role in exhausting physicians. In the long term, they prove to be less useful as originally thought.


Due to inefficient EHRs, physicians’ primary focus has been diverted from their actual task of patient care to documentation and digital record. Following recommendations should be brought into practice to reduce physician burnout and ensure good performance:

  • Design and produce effective EHR systems in collaboration with proper manufacturing companies and healthcare organizations.
  • Once the product is made, ensure sufficient training of the system for all physicians.
  • Identify ways for improvements.
  • Evaluate the resources and technicians needed to keep EHRs updated and efficient.

The above-mentioned key points would surely help in improving the current EHRs so that they do not prove to be a burden for physician or result in physician burnout and stress.