Technology is changing the healthcare landscape with American doctors now needing to complete more data entry work to account for an array of factors, including the possibility of medical malpractice, according to a Becker Hospital Review report. The extra workload is making it harder for doctors to feel energized and positive while they are on the job. In fact, 13 percent of doctors place the blame for their feelings of burnout directly on their increased data entry workloads. When doctors burn out, they are prone to making mistakes which put patients at risk. So this extra workload, some of which is designed to lower the risk of medical malpractice lawsuits, may ironically be resulting in an uptick in legal issues.
Doctor burnout needs to be addressed
Doctors who are burnt out are twice as likely to make mistakes, which may have severe or even fatal consequences for patients. A report by Harvard researchers even categorized physician burnout as “a public health crisis.” The types of mistakes that doctor burnout may trigger impact public safety, as well as quality of care. Doctors who burn out and make medical errors frequently suffer psychological turmoil, which may extend to suicidal thoughts, and may also end up in court due to medical malpractice lawsuits. Janet, Janet & Suggs asserts that medical malpractice lawsuits are filed to access compensation and justice for victims of medical malpractice. These cases are on the rise in several states, including Florida, Massachusetts, Minnesota and Vermont, based on recent information from the National Practitioner Data Bank. As a consequence of the growing amount of data entry required of doctors, burnout is considered an urgent problem, especially since some malpractice lawsuits can be directly linked to physicians being overworked.
Physician burnout affects everyone
Almost 50 percent of US doctors report feelings of failure, exhaustion, and depression, as a result of their long hours, hard work, and ever-increasing quantity of patients. Extra data entry work is part of the problem, and another issue is that fact that there are so many patients and only 1.1 million physicians. Since Americans need health care that they can trust, physician burnout can unfortunately affect doctors in every practice and field. Skyrocketing medical malpractice lawsuits in some US states tell a story about the impact that long hours and electronic health record (EHR) systems are having on physicians. Doctors don’t always have access to the latest technology while they practice medicine. This means that they may need to spend even more time updating records. Better technology might lead to lower incidences of doctor burnout and medical malpractice lawsuits, but other solutions should also be sought.
Americans need to be aware of the pressures placed on doctors, but also need to understand that they may be at higher risk of being subjected to medical mistakes as a consequence of physician burnout. The burnout issue among physicians is something that needs to be addressed sooner rather than later, so doctors are able to deliver the best quality of care possible and avoid malpractice lawsuits.