I recently read an article in the Chicago Tribune on October 22 called Physician Burnout by Barbara Sadick.¹ After reading this article it reminded me of some of my interactions with physicians and the EMR documentation, which I actually blogged about back in April. I recognize burnout is relevant with some healthcare workers and I unfortunately have experienced it myself as a nurse. It is definitely a hard situation to face and glad to see some hospitals trying to help. Ultimately though I feel as a healthcare worker it is up to us to fight burn out and healthcare IT is an excellent way to do so. The article states “electronic records are burdensome and have made physicians into data entry clerks.” I truly question that. The EMR should fit into your clinical workflow and focus on the patients care. Clinical practice should not need to be changed for the EMR implementation. This is where burnout can begin, as now instead of doing what a physician or a clinician should be focused on, which is the patient, they are focused on the EMR, which can be very frustrating and time consuming.
How can Healthcare IT help? Healthcare IT opens up exciting opportunities for all healthcare workers. Actually InformationWeek Healthcare² states that the “Electronic health records have fueled a growing career specialty.” You don’t have to leave bed-side patient care to get involved. As your hospital implements an EMR ask to be part of the team to assure your workflow is represented and your patient population is represented. Every unit does not work the same and patients have different needs. Your voice in this process does not stop at implementation and go live. Clinical practice changes daily so keep up to date through different organizations and assure these new practices are configured into your EMR when needed.
Within the hospital environment, IT opportunities are always an option. Healthcare Analyst, Project Managers, Clinical Specialists and Consultants, just to name a few, are all necessary roles within a hospital system. Your education and background is perfect for these roles. With your inside knowledge of workflow imagine what you can help lead within your hospital.
If you truly want a change of path, opportunities with a Healthcare IT Vendor are also available. The more clinicians are involved with a product the better that product will be. Having clinicians at the vendor level is imperative. I am proud to share that Centricity™ Perinatal is truly a product created by clinicians for clinicians. I always say “I “nurse” nurses now” and I love it!
Yes, burnout is a reality but just remember there are lots of opportunities to fight it. You just have to look around a little to see what difference you can make!
- Chicago Tribune. October 22, 2014 Physician Burnout, Barbara Sadick.
- Informationweek.com. April,22 2014 EHR jobs boom: 8 Hot Health IT roles