When Physicians Burn Out, Healthcare Does Too

What’s your favorite part of the workday?  Paperwork, right?

I didn’t think so.

A study in the Annals of Family Medicine showed that physicians are spending more than half of an 11+ hour workday on data entry and other EMR-related tasks.  Nearly six hours per day in an EMR?  That’s enough to burn anyone out, especially when there’s a whole other job to be done.

The Risk

What does all this mean for healthcare?  For starters, it means that physicians are being run ragged and their life satisfaction is falling.  The massive workload placed on them increases errors while diminishing productivity.  When physicians are dissatisfied, quality of care can suffer.

While this is obviously a threat, more and more physicians are considering the alternative to this work: quitting it.  More than a quarter of doctors believe they’ll likely leave their practice within two years and almost two percent say they’ll leave the medical field altogether.  With a shortage of up to 100,000 physicians looming by 2030 according to the Association of American Medical Colleges, the time to act on physician life satisfaction is now.

life satisfaction

Next Steps

So what can we do to alleviate some of these concerns and get physicians concentrating on what they got their medical degree for? 

The American Medical Association suggested the presence of what they call a “reset room.”  Stressful or traumatic events hasten the pace of burnout and offering physicians a place to decompress is a great way to get them back on track for the rest of the day.

Automation is another great solution.  Reuters reports that groups such as Atrius Health are adding goals to divert unnecessary emails away from doctors in order to reduce over a million mouse clicks per year, keeping their doctors focused on more important tasks.

At Extract, the goal isn’t necessarily reducing clicks, but it is certainly time, effort, and accuracy.  We believe that physicians and their staff shouldn’t have to pour over faxed lab results and other documentation to update an EMR.  That’s why we empower your staff (or ours!) to have the fastest verification process possible.  Autopopulated verification data, simple UIs, and more ensure your staff is focused on patient care, and not time-wasting, cumbersome data entry.


Chris is a Marketing Manager at Extract with experience in product development, data analysis, and both traditional and digital marketing.  Chris received his bachelors degree in English from Bucknell University and has an MBA from the University of Notre Dame.  A passionate marketer, Chris strives to make complex ideas more accessible to those around him in a compelling way.