Many physicians enjoy spending time with their patients, sharing their experiences and offering advice for healthy actions. With the imposition of electronic medical records though, many physicians are finding that they are clicking their way to a dissatisfaction with their practices. Physicians are spending more time filling boxes and staring at monitors than interacting with their patients and sustaining their existing relationships.
A new study published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings has found a major cause of physician burnout: the increasingly electronic nature of medicine. The digital parts of doctoring, like maintaining electronic health records, were linked to physician burnout. Researchers at the Mayo Clinic looked at several months of 2014 survey data from 6,560 U.S. physicians measuring features of work life, including burnout and electronic use. Even after controlling for factors like age, sex, specialty and the number of hours doctors work per week, the researchers found a strong link between burnout and time spent doing digital work. Of the many physicians who used electronic health records, 44% were dissatisfied with them and nearly 63% of doctors believed that EHRs made their jobs less efficient. Nearly half of doctors said that they spent an unreasonable amount of time on clerical tasks related to patient care.
Doctors may loathe the electronic parts of their jobs because of more information overload, interruptions and distractions. But there might be a deeper reason doctors hate digital busy work: it eats up time they would otherwise spend with their patients, which is where a large number of physicians derive professional pleasure.

Doctors Are Burned Out by Busywork: Study