Tackling EHR-Related Burnout and Patient Safety Issues

By Steve Barrett
Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Experts from the AMA and MedStar Health are highlighting risks to patients and providers of poor EHR usability.

The organizations are disseminating videos at EHRSeeWhatWeMean.org to underscore, from clinicians’ point of view, how inadequate EHR usability endangers patients and exacerbates provider burnout. The videos call for collaboration among providers, EHR vendors, members of Congress and patients.

The HITECH Act of 2009 encouraged EHR use to enhance the safety and quality of care. However, EHR use is linked to physician burnout.

“[Health information technology-related] stress is ... common (about 70% among respondents) ... and independently predictive of burnout symptoms,” a 2018 study in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association found. The study cited EHR use specifically.

MedStar is collecting signatures to forward to key policymakers, urging them to make EHR safety and usability priorities at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. An important component of that, according to a news release, is permitting open reporting of concerns about safety and usability so those issues can be addressed sooner.

“EHR safety must be a priority for all stakeholders,” says Raj M. Ratwani, PhD, Director of the MedStar Health National Center for Human Factors in Healthcare. “Nearly every high-risk industry promotes the sharing of safety information to foster improvement, and health information technology should be no different.”