Physician burnout is threatening our healthcare industry

Physicians report spending nearly 50% of their work day on EHR and desk work while spending only 27% of their total time on direct clinical face time with patients. 

The evolving landscape of healthcare has seen physicians navigating a significant challenge: they now spend nearly half of their workday on electronic health record (EHR) systems and administrative tasks. This shift means that direct patient care, the cornerstone of clinical practice, occupies only about 27% of their time. This disproportionate allocation highlights a pressing need for optimizing healthcare processes to ensure that physicians can dedicate more time to patient interaction, thereby enhancing the quality of care and patient satisfaction.

This means that for every hour physicians provide direct clinical face time to patients, nearly two additional hours are spent on EHR and desk work within the clinic day. Outside office hours, physicians are spending another one to two hours of personal time each night doing additional clerical work.

Clerical work, along with other factors like the COVID-19 pandemic, have caused a surge in physician burnout in the United States, which has caused high turnover rates in the healthcare industry.

The imbalance in time spent on clerical work versus patient interaction not only diminishes the quality and effectiveness of healthcare delivery but also contributes significantly to physician burnout. The additional hours dedicated to EHR and administrative tasks outside of office hours encroach upon personal time, exacerbating stress and dissatisfaction among medical professionals. This growing concern underscores the urgent need for systemic changes within healthcare practices to reduce administrative burdens, thereby improving both physician well-being and patient care outcomes. Addressing these issues is crucial for stabilizing the healthcare workforce and ensuring the sustainability of healthcare services.

“It’s crucial we prioritize reducing physician burnout or we risk not having enough qualified and experienced physicians to care for our loved ones when they are sick. Burnout is estimated to cause 20% of physicians to quit working in medicine entirely, and when physicians quit – that increases the strain on the remaining physicians to create a vicious cycle of physicians constantly overworked and burning out. High physician turnover is already leading to lengthy wait times for patient care and If this cycle continues, we won’t have enough doctors to adequately care for us within the next 5 years,” explains Sarah M. Worthy, CEO of DoorSpace.

The alarming rise in physician burnout, driven by an overwhelming amount of clerical work, is not only a personal crisis for the healthcare professionals involved but a looming public health crisis. As burnout forces a significant number of physicians to leave the medical field, the consequent shortage places an unsustainable burden on those who remain, threatening the quality of patient care and access to medical services. Sarah Worthy’s insights highlight a critical junction where the healthcare industry must adopt innovative solutions like DoorSpace to counteract the root causes of burnout and preserve the integrity of patient care.

Sarah goes on to say, “Several recent studies have shown a direct correlation between physician burnout and excess paperwork. DoorSpace reduces physician burnout by automating and streamlining the bulk of employee and credentialing paperwork that physicians are being asked to do. This can give back hours of healthcare professionals’ time.”

The critical dialogue surrounding the substantial time physicians allocate to EHR and administrative duties over direct patient care illuminates an urgent call for reform within the healthcare system. This imbalance, a catalyst for physician burnout and subsequent industry turnover, necessitates immediate action to prioritize and enhance physician-patient interactions. Implementing innovative solutions like DoorSpace, aimed at streamlining clerical tasks, emerges as a vital step towards restoring the essence of healthcare—ensuring physicians can focus on delivering high-quality patient care, ultimately securing the well-being and satisfaction of both healthcare providers and recipients.


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