Physician burnout is epidemic today in health care. For example, Shanafelt et al1 found in a 2012 national sample that 46% of physicians reported at least 1 symptom of burnout. In that study, burnout was more frequent in frontline practitioners. Although there are many contributors, one of the most important ones may be the use of the electronic health record (EHR).
A significant time-consuming component of EHR use for practitioners is documentation.2 Notes have a variety of purposes, but arguably their most important one is to adequately document what is occurring to make available to other practitioners the information they need to care for the patient. Another use that they have is to help patients understand their care. Patients increasingly have ready access to their notes through initiatives such as OpenNotes and find them remarkably useful despite the concerns that physicians had about making them available. Notes are also the basis for generating and substantiating the legitimacy of bills.
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Bates DW, Landman AB. Use of Medical Scribes to Reduce Documentation BurdenAre They Where We Need to Go With Clinical Documentation?. JAMA Intern Med. 2018;178(11):1472–1473. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2018.3945
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