How disparate EHR systems, lack of interoperability contribute to physician stress, burnout

Jeff Lagasse | Healthcare IT News | July 2, 2018

The evolution of the patchwork EHR landscape has been complex, and one expert traces the problem back to meaningful use.

Physician burnout is an increasingly common issue in healthcare, and there are a lot of factors that can contribute to it. Long hours, paperwork and the burden of administrative tasks all play a part. But electronic medical records can also contribute to burnout, largely because each system is different. With disparate electronic health record systems comes an added hardship for physicians, affecting their work -- and their reimbursement.

Niki BuchananCompounding the issue is that many physicians are no longer limited to just one facility. Many handle rounds at multiple hospitals and/or practices, and if each has its own EMR system that doesn't necessarily communicate with the others, it can be a growing headache.

Niki Buchanan, general manager of population health management at Philips Health, said the lack of interoperability is taking a toll. "What a physician might have in their physician care practice might be Athena, or an EMR customized to their workflow or a public-type vendor. When they go in to do rounding, it's usually an Epic or a Cerner, a large system. They have to deal with three or more EMR systems depending on how they're caring for their patients. If there is no standardization … then imagine the challenge of only having a few minutes for the patients and having to provide a full realm of care for them."