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Female Sex, Work Culture Biggest Contributors to Physician Burnout

MONDAY, April 26, 2021 -- Clinician sex and local work culture may contribute more to burnout than electronic health record (EHR) usage, according to a study published online April 20 in JAMA Network Open.

Eugenia McPeek-Hinz, M.D., from the Duke University Health System in Durham, North Carolina, and colleagues evaluated the association between EHR usage, sex, and work culture with burnout for three types of clinicians (physicians, advanced practice providers, and house staff; 1,310 participants) at an academic medical institution. EHR usage metrics were collected in April 2019, and a well-being survey was conducted in May 2019.

The researchers found that women reported more burnout than men, overall. There were no significant differences observed in EHR usage by sex for multiple metrics of time in the EHR, metrics of volume of clinical encounters, or differences in products of clinical care. Work culture domains were significantly associated with self-reported results for commitment (odds ratio, 0.542) and work-life balance (odds ratio, 0.643). There was an association noted between an increased number of days spent using the EHR system and less likelihood of burnout (odds ratio, 0.966). Overall, EHR metrics accounted for less model variance than work culture (1.3 versus 17.6 percent).

"We found that clinician burnout was associated with commitment and local work culture factors," the authors write. "Burnout was greater for female clinicians irrespective of differences with male counterparts in EHR usage."

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