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Computerized records are not going away, so it is imperative to develop strategies to mitigate and cope with the stress EHRs are causing-for physicians and for patients.
It may not be too surprising to hear that the rate of physician burnout is on the rise. What might be particularly surprising is the cause. Work-life balance has typically been identified as the primary culprit, but now burnout is more often linked directly to time spent engaged in computer documentation. A recent article in The New Yorker (Why Doctors Hate Their Computer) highlights the impact that computerization has had on physicians, healthcare workers, medical practices, and patients. The author highlights two alarming statistics: one is that healthcare workers spend twice as much time on the computer as they do interacting with patients. The other is that the average workday for family physicians is now at 11.5 hours-this is mostly attributed to the need to be behind a computer screen.
Computerized records are not going away, so it is imperative that the healthcare profession develops strategies to mitigate and cope with the stress EHRs are causing-for themselves AND for patients. To do so, first identify what factors you have some level of control over and those that you do not. For the former, let’s look at a few strategies that you might employ, and for the latter, let’s consider what brain science has to offer us in the way of developing greater resiliency.
For factors you can control:
For the stressors that you cannot control (i.e., EHRs are here to stay), here are some brain resilience practices to consider.
While you might not incorporate all the suggestions above, start with just one and turn it into a habit. Take advantage of neuroplasticity and your resilient brain.
Catherine Hambley, PhD, is a consulting psychologist who offers brain-based strategies to organizations, leaders, teams, and healthcare providers to improve their effectiveness and promote greater success. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org