Clinician burnout – a global phenomenon

Healthcare professionals burning out due to quality of life at work

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 per cent of doctors have burnout, rising to 88 per cent 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 per cent of respondents said burnout was a “serious” or “moderate” problem in their facility. This trend is replicated in France, China and Australia to name a few.

Causes of 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.

Our e-paper “How to win back time” looks at 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.

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 per cent 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.

Download our OUH case study here

Discover how secure, cloud-based speech recognition has boosted one NHS Trust’s digitisation program and accelerated the uptake of the EHR.

Download

About Dr Simon Wallace

Dr Simon Wallace is the Chief Clinical Information Officer (CCIO) of Nuance’s Healthcare division in the UK and Ireland. Simon has worked as a GP, hospital and public health doctor in Brighton and London. His interest in health informatics began in the 90s when he spent a year at the King's Fund investigating the impact of the internet on shared decision making between patients and their healthcare professional. For the past 15 years, he has worked for a range of organisations including Bupa, Dr Foster, Cerner Corporation and GSK across a range of technologies which include electronic patient records, telemedicine, mobile health and lifestyle devices. Simon has a keen interest in the voluntary sector, recently completing a 7 year term as a Trustee for Fitzrovia Youth in Action, a children and young people’s charity based in London.