Clinicians share technology’s two-sided effect on burnout

In a field plagued with clinical burnout, many tout emerging technologies as the key to making providers fall back in love with healthcare.

Advancements like electronic health records and telehealth are designed to lift some of the burdens off healthcare workers’ backs, but now some fear these and other tools are doing the exact opposite.

In a HIMSS21 Global Conference Digital Session set to air on Wednesday, August 11, Christine VanZandbergen, MPH, MS, PA, vice president of analytics and research at Penn Medicine will be joined by a panel of clinicians to discuss how digital transformation can be both contributing to and alleviating burnout.

Dr. Jennifer Lightdale, the vice-chair of the Department of Pediatrics at UMass Memorial Children’s Medical Center and one of the session’s panelists, calls the increased dependence on technology a blessing and a curse in that it simplifies some workflows yet puts pressure on doctors to be available nearly around the clock.

Another panelist, Dr. Emily Oken, a professor in the Department of Population Medicine at Harvard Medical School, adds to that sentiment by saying shifting responsibilities away from ancillary healthcare workers and onto technology can actually put more on a physician’s plate as it forces them to the front line.

The session will dive into some of the tell-tale signs of clinician burnout and how it can manifest into troubles in their personal lives, medical errors, poorer relationships with their patients and leaving clinical practice altogether.

The panelists will also share ways their organizations are easing providers’ responsibilities and give tips on what others can do to help. For example, Isil Arican, M.S., the director of ambulatory EHR services at Stanford Children’s Health, shares how her institution takes a multidisciplinary approach to support its providers.

This panel discussion will be part of the HIMSS21 Digital session, “Burnout: Can Digital Transformation Be the Cause and the Cure?” It’s scheduled to air on Wednesday, August 11 from 8:28 am to 8:58 am PST. Read more about the HIMSS21 Digital program here.


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