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Documentation Overload And Internist Burnout


Burnout in internists is a significant and concerning issue with documentation overload being the major contributor to it. Internists often face demanding workloads, long hours, high patient loads, administrative burdens and the pressure to manage complex cases. According to the Medscape Internist Lifestyle, Happiness & Burnout Report 2023, 64% attributed “Too many bureaucratic tasks” such as paperwork and charting as the number one cause of burnout. 32% of the respondents cited “Too many hours at work” as yet another driving factor contributing to internist burnout. But some are of the opinion that the connection has to be taken with a grain of salt. It's often not about how many hours they work, but what they're doing during those hours that lead to burnout. Paperwork and non-clinical tasks can make things even more stressful. Hence, introducing a scribe into the workflow can alleviate internist burnout by streamlining documentation tasks and allowing more focus on patient care.

Burnout And The Burden Of After-Hours

Internists are no strangers to long work days. In addition to the time spent seeing patients they also dedicate a good chunk of their time to administrative tasks, particularly clinical documentation. A recent study has revealed a concerning trend - a substantial percentage of physicians are spending significant amounts of time on documentation outside of regular office hours. On average physicians spent approximately 1.84 hours daily beyond their work hours to complete electronic health record (EHR) documentation, as per a research published in JAMA Internal Medicine Report. This adds up to 9.2 hours spent each week on tasks outside of regular work hours. Fortunately, there’s a solution that helps alleviate this burden – Internal medicine scribes. By taking over the documentation tasks they eliminate the need for after-hours documentation.

Findings of Medscape Internist Lifestyle, Happiness & Burnout Report 2023

Physicians were asked to take part in a 10 minute online survey. 9175 physicians from 29+ specialties participated in this survey. Here are the findings!

- Internists are of the opinion that their happiness and work-life balance hasn’t bounced back to normal even long after COVID-19s impact on the workplace wanes. Hence, the continual buildup of burnout and depression among internists leads to feelings of frustration, sadness, and anger.

- Did you know that an alarming trend continues in the high-stress world of medicine? Well, burnout consistently affects women physicians more than male physicians. Medscape report also states that women internists are experiencing burnout at higher rates than their male counterparts. 31% of male internists and 49% of their female counterparts said that they were burned out.

- 47% of the women respondents and 40% of the male respondents reported that burnout had a strong/severe impact on their lives. While, 36% of the women respondents and 35% of the male respondents reported that burnout had a moderate impact on their lives.

- Internists blame bureaucracy as the number one reason for burnout. “Too many bureaucratic tasks” such as paperwork and charting topped the list of burnout causes, as it does every year with 64% of the internists identifying it as the primary contributing factor.

- COVID-19 has driven internist burnout to an all-time high. 42% of the internists reported that COVID-19 affected their happiness and work-life balance in the past year.

- Internist burnout can erode physician-patient relationships. It can have a negative impact on relationship-building and patient-centered communication. 28% of the internists reported that patient interactions were affected as they admitted showing exasperation and 19% admitted that their patient notes suffered.

- Work-life balance seemed to be a physician’s top priority than a bigger paycheck. Most physicians were willing to take a pay cut for a better work-life balance. 52% of the internists reported that they would settle for less pay for a healthy work-life balance.

The Role Of Internal Medicine Scribes In Reducing burnout

Internal medicine scribes combat burnout among internists by relieving internists of the time-consuming and tedious documentation tasks. With the scribes assuming administrative responsibilities, internists can devote more attention to building relationships with their patients, enhancing communication, and providing quality healthcare. This collaborative approach not only reduces stress and frustration but also promotes a healthier work-life balance for internists. Sounds impressive? Hire Physicians Angels internal medicine virtual scribe today. Incorporating internal medicine scribes into the workflow is a first step towards mitigating internist burnout and enhancing overall well-being. Well, it’s time to reduce documentation burden and regain control of your time and focus on what truly matters – your patients!

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Physicians Angels

More time for physicians to see more patients, provide better care, and live their lives. Physicians Angels provides one-of-a-kind EMR data management services to healthcare providers through our real time Virtual Scribe service.