Physicians are stressed. There's no doubt about it.
From 2013 to 2015, the amount of burnout among U.S. physicians increased from roughly 40 percent to 46 percent, according to the Medscape Physician Lifestyle Report. While Merriam-Webster defines burnout as "exhaustion of physical or emotional strength or motivation usually as a result of prolonged stress or frustration," the Medscape report focused on identifying another component of burnout — low physician morale.
One area of practice that brings continuous stress and impacts morale is clinical documentation. Nuance recently released an interesting infographic detailing just how deeply physicians are struggling with this aspect of care.
The Rise of Stress
Documentation is more important than ever. Not only does detailed and accurate documentation serve as a key element of continuation of care, it's also now intricately linked to obtaining maximum insurance reimbursements as well. As the healthcare system moves towards value-based care in the coming years, it's likely to become even more instrumental to maintaining reimbursement levels.
Finally, add in that clinical documentation may provide a buffer and safeguard for malpractice suits, and it's clear that documentation is crucial to the health and longevity of a physician's practice. The learning curve that came along with the introduction of EHRs has certainly played a role in the stress surrounding documentation methods too. These are perhaps several of the reasons why physicians are feeling mounting levels of stress when it comes to this frequent and mandatory task.
Here are some of the most surprising statistics from Nuance's infographic:
- 88 percent of physicians report being moderately to severely stressed with the time required for clinical documentation and the time it takes away from patient care;
- 43 percent of a physician's workday is spent on documentation and data entry;
- An average day of documentation is the equivalent of 4,000 clicks; and
- 7.2 million words are documented by a single physician over the course of a year.
How to Eliminate Documentation Stress
Besides the sheer amount of documentation required, another significant portion of documentation stress comes from lack of mobility. Approximately four out of five physicians use a mobile device in the office, walking more than 12,000 steps per day.
Being tied to a desk to complete clinical documentation is not only a burden for physicians, but it's also a hindrance to the natural flow of care. Having the ability to document on the go, regardless of location, is one way to lower stress levels.
Even more improvement can be seen when using cloud-based dictation via a mobile device. Physicians report faster typing speeds — averaging 150 words per minute — and saving two-and-a-half hours for every hour dictated. Moreover, utilizing this technology eases the burden of clinical documentation while also positively influencing stress loads. In fact, Nuance has reported that physicians who use clinical speech recognition are 23 percent happier than their counterparts.
See the complete infographic below.
And if you need to eliminate even more clinical documentation stress, watch for the upcoming release of Dragon Medical One, designed especially for small to mid-sized practices.
Is clinical documentation a challenge? Have you used cloud-based dictation? Why or why not? Please join the conversation below.