10 December 2018
MONDAY, Dec. 10, 2018 (HealthDay News) — Electronic health records are supposed to help doctors, but stress from using them may lead to burnout — and primary care doctors are at greatest risk, new research suggests. “You don’t want your doctor to be burned out or frustrated by the technology that stands between you and them,” said study author Dr. Rebekah Gardner. She’s an associate professor of medicine at Brown University’s Warren Alpert Medical School in Providence, R.I. “In this paper, we show that EHR [electronic health record] stress is associated with burnout, even after controlling for a lot of different demographic and practice characteristics,” she added in a university news release. In the study, Gardner’s team analyzed the responses of nearly 1,800 doctors in Rhode Island who took part in a state health department survey about health information technology-related stress. Of the 91 percent who reported using EHRs, 70 percent reported at least one measure of EHR-related stress. Those measures included frustration with using EHRs, spending time on EHRs while at home, and not having enough time for documentation while at work. Doctors who didn’t have enough time for documentation while at work were 2.8 times more likely to have burnout symptoms than those without that pressure. The other two measures were associated with about a two-times higher risk of burnout symptoms. The researchers also found that all three measures were reported by more than one-third of dermatologists (36 percent) and primary care doctors, including general internists (40 percent), family medicine physicians (37 percent) and pediatricians (34 percent). Nearly 31 percent of hospital medicine specialists reported all three measures. Meanwhile, less than 10 percent of anesthesiologists and radiologists reported all three measures, according to the study. The findings are “a signal to health care organizations that if they’re going to ‘fix’ burnout, one solution is not going to work for all physicians in their organization,” Gardner said. “They need to look at the physicians by specialty and make sure that if they are looking for a technology-related solution, then that’s really the problem in their group,” she concluded. The study was published Dec. 5 in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association. More information The U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality has more on doctor burnout.
23 April 2018
MONDAY, April 23, 2018 (HealthDay News) — Wellness exams are important for monitoring your health and detecting any problems early on. But there are also self-care steps to take to protect yourself the other 364 days of the year. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests doing regular skin and body checks. Look and feel for any changes, like a lump, rash or growth. Use a hand mirror for hard-to-see places. Also, make a note of any changes in body function: your energy levels, digestion, vision and hearing, thirst and hunger, bathroom habits, and unintended weight loss or gain. If any of your self-checks turn up anything out of the ordinary, call your doctor. Don’t ignore possible early warning signs. If you have any chronic conditions — like high blood pressure or diabetes — manage them according to your doctor’s orders, and keep a close track of any changes in your numbers and blood test results. You may not feel any symptoms now, but diseases are likely to worsen if you don’t follow an early care plan. This might include medication, at-home testing and regular office visits. It’s also important to know your family medical history. If you have a close relative with a chronic disease, the CDC notes that you could have an increased risk for developing that disease. The agency recommends keeping track of your family health history by writing down the history of family members and keeping the document in a safe place. Update it periodically so you’ll be prepared with accurate information for your health care provider. Family health histories can help physicians determine which tests and screenings you should have. Annual checkups are part of staying healthy, but also be pro-active, and put yourself in the driver’s seat when it comes to protecting your well-being. More information For more on self-care, check out Five Minutes (or Less) for Health.