Update from Physician Wellness Committee

Walter Klein, MD Chair and Susan Gregory, MD Vice Chair

Thank you to all on the medical staff who took time to complete our physician burnout survey this past fall.  We would like to share with you some of the key takeaways from the survey.  Of the total respondents (n=504), 53% described themselves as burnt out or having symptoms of burnout and 76% feel a great deal of stress because of their job.  Two aspects that respondents most often described as “poor” were having sufficient time for documentation (22%) and control over their workload (17%).  Use of the EHR at home was described as excessive for 21% of respondents.

When physicians were asked to elaborate more on their stressors at work, the main themes that stood out were that physicians needed more staff, they have a lot of frustration with EPIC and EHR’s in general and they are wanting a better work/life balance.  The overall results are in keeping with those of national surveys on physician burnout.

Our committee has since met to discuss the survey results in greater detail and what our next steps should be.  This is a very complex issue to tackle and while many changes will have to come from the federal government particularly with regard to regulations and compliance, we can still do things on a local level.  Our committee came up with three next steps:

  • Reduce unintended burden of EPIC by launching a link on Wellspring where all healthcare providers can nominate anything in EPIC that they thought was poorly designed, unnecessary, or just plain stupid. These would be studied by the appropriate EPIC committees to see if the change is feasible or not.
  • Improve existing physician lounges so that they are a warm, welcoming and inviting place for physicians to go to for down time, relaxing, taking a break, lunch, coffee etc. These exist in all four hospitals but have been ignored and abandoned for many years.  Of note Bryn Mawr’s was recently renovated.
  • Enable physicians to have more of a voice in issues related to workload, work-flow, and staffing in their practices. This request would be made directly to the appropriate department chairs and/or division chiefs.

Thanks again to all of you who completed the survey.  As always, our committee welcomes comments or suggestions at any time.

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