Less EHR Use Correlated With Physician Turnover: Study

Ken Terry is a healthcare journalist and author. His most current book is “Physician-Led Healthcare Reform: A New Approach to Medicare for All.”

No information in the JAMA study link burnout to the probability of doctor departure, stated Melnick. “Burnout is multifactorial, but it contributes to turnover,” he stated.

Performance Incentives May Be Involved
While the physicians who left the practice network were not spoken with, the group paid physicians partly on the basis of their performance. So if a physician saw fewer patients, his or her earnings was lower. “Physicians practicing in a productivity-based compensation network (like that studied here) who discover themselves with regularly low patient volumes may pick to leave the network due to lower than anticipated earnings,” the research study noted.
The researchers provided 2 hypotheses for why less time invested in the EHR may have forecasted physician departure. They kept in mind, doctors who leave may be less in demand or be winding down their practice. In that case, they may spend less time utilizing the EHR, despite their efficiency or their efficiency on the system.
Second, physicians who leave might be more skilled on the EHR and therefore have to spend less time working in it. Their proficiency may make them more valuable to other companies if theyre thinking about a task modification. However the research study didnt investigate EHR efficiency.

More Research Needed to Identify “High-Risk” Physicians
” Physician characteristics and efficiency are likely more highly connected with physician turnover than EHR usage,” the research study concluded. To support that hypothesis, the paper pointed out a doctor study that showed that work culture explained more variation in burnout than EHR use did. Because survey, the physician-perceived use of the EHR explained just 5.8% of the burnout experienced by participants.

Melnick said practice leaders shouldnt use the findings to predict which physicians are likely to leave because more research is needed to describe the research study findings. Yet he was positive about the potential to use analyses of EHR use information to forecast physician turnover.

The variables most associated with doctor departure, the study discovered, were less inbox time, less group orders, lower demand for a doctors services, and being 45 to 54 years old.
The finding that physicians who left the group spent less time handling their inboxes than those who remained is particularly difficult to understand, lead author Edward Melnick, MD, MHS, associate professor of emergency medicine at the Yale School of Medicine, told Medscape Medical News.

The research studys purpose was to identify whether vendor-derived EHR data could be used to understand and describe doctor turnover. The researchers, who evaluated data for 314 ambulatory care physicians from March 2018 to February 2020, were able to address that concern in the affirmative. They were unable to explain the counterproductive research study findings.

While using EHRs has been connected with physician burnout, a crucial aspect in doctors leaving their jobs, a new JAMA research study discovers that less use of these systems is associated with the turnover of used doctors in a big New England health system.

Although demand ended up being a crucial variable in the research study, the scientists didnt think about whether an association existed between less demand for physicians and less time invested on the EHR, Melnick said. “We only took a look at turnover, and we discovered those who were leaving had lower need and that they likewise had lower EHR time.”

The studys function was to figure out whether vendor-derived EHR information might be used to comprehend and discuss physician turnover. The research study used 5 EHR-based procedures: doctors overall EHR time, work outside of scheduled center hours, encounter note documents time, time spent on inbox management, and “teamwork for orders” (specified as the portion of a physicians orders that were put by other members of the care team). Second, physicians who leave might be more skilled on the EHR and therefore have to spend less time working in it.” Physician qualities and performance are likely more highly associated with physician turnover than EHR usage,” the research study concluded. To support that hypothesis, the paper cited a physician survey that showed that work culture explained more variation in burnout than EHR use did.

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The other thought is that individuals are winding down their practice as they prepare to leave and so are seeing less patients. They have less EHR work to do since theyre winding down. We attempted to account for that by not including the last 3 months of work for a physician if they left.”
Demand for doctors was determined by what percentage of their offered visits were filled. Medical professionals who would later leave had a lower percentage of their open slots filled than those who remained. Physicians who left also had lower patient volume than those who stayed, although they saw about the very same number of patients per hour.

The research study utilized 5 EHR-based procedures: physicians total EHR time, work beyond arranged clinic hours, encounter note documents time, time invested in inbox management, and “team effort for orders” (defined as the portion of a physicians orders that were positioned by other members of the care group). In addition, the researchers utilized data from the practice management system to determine just how much need there was for each physician and the number of patients she or he saw per hour. Info on clinician demographics and turnover rates came from the health systems personnels department.

The brand-new study, he said, is “a signal that well have the ability to determine high-risk folks. We dont understand why theyre high danger yet, but if we understand theyre high risk, we can potentially talk with them and understand why theyre struggling and develop interventions around that.”

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