Technology as friend or foe? Do electronic health records increase burnout?

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Abstract

Purpose of review

To summarize recent relevant studies regarding the use of electronic health records and physician burnout.

Recent findings

Recently acquired knowledge regarding the relationship between electronic health record use, professional satisfaction, burnout, and desire to leave clinical practice are discussed.

Summary

Adoption of electronic health records has increased across the United States and worldwide. Although electronic health records have many benefits, there is growing concern about the adverse consequences of their use on physician satisfaction and burnout. Poor usability, incongruent workflows, and the addition of clerical tasks to physician documentation requirements have been previously highlighted as ongoing concerns with electronic health record adoption. In multiple recent studies, electronic health records have been shown to decrease professional satisfaction, increase burnout, and the likelihood that a physician will reduce or leave clinical practice. One interventional study demonstrated a positive effect of a dedicated electronic health record entry clerk on physicians working in an outpatient practice.

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