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Health Tech's Role in Decreasing Physician Burnout


Two experts believe health tech can speed up processes in a physician’s workflow.

It’s no secret that physicians feel that health technologies like electronic health records (EHRs) are fueling burnout. What’s more, burnout has been shown to lead to suboptimal patient care and downstream costs of approximately $4.6 billion a year across an already high-priced U.S. healthcare system.

But the technology can also play a pivotal role in the fight against burnout.

“I think there are a variety of ways that health technology can help alleviate burnout,” Daniel Durand, M.D., chief innovation officer of Lifebridge Health, told Inside Digital Health™ at World Health Care Congress 2019 in Washington, D.C. He pointed to telemedicine and virtual visits as an opportunity to help extend the physician’s reach to underserved populations.

“If there’s a business model as well as a technological model that can get that done for a physician, then I don’t know any physicians that wouldn’t want those urgent visits taken out of the middle of their day so they can focus on the more complex patients and operate at the top of their license,” Durand said.

Technology can also help serve the right data to physicians at the right time within their workflow, helping them provide the best, most informed care for their patients, said John Bulger, MBA, chief medical officer of Geisinger Health Plan.

Moreover, health technology can automate many processes to help physicians manage tasks more quickly and in a more efficient manner. But it’s important to make sure that those processes fit well into the physician’s workflow, Bulger said.

“You have providers that are part of coming up with what that workflow is going to be, as opposed to something that’s forced upon the provider and they say, ‘Here’s this thing that’s going to help you,’ and it turns out it doesn’t because it creates more work for them in the long run,” he said.

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