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Research from KLAS this week found that compared to other clinical backgrounds, nurses are the most likely to have plans to leave their organizations in the next two years – but workers more satisfied with the electronic health record are more likely to stay.  

“Clinician turnover is high, staffing costs have risen, and even when organizations are able to hire new providers and staff, the need to train them can strain existing employees, diclofenac and tylenol ” said researchers in the report published Tuesday.  

“These challenges result in overburdened clinicians, millions of additional dollars spent by healthcare organizations, and, ultimately, a diminished capacity for patient care,” they said.  

WHY IT MATTERS

As with other issues in healthcare, the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated existing problems with clinician burnout.  

Starting in early 2020, KLAS began asking clinicians about the likelihood of leaving their organizations in the next two years. More than 59,000 have responded to date, with numbers changing over time.  

In the first quarter of 2021, 26% of nurses signaled their intentions to leave their jobs.

“This spike could be attributable to a number of factors, including the increase in acute COVID-19 cases at the time, more prevalent cultural and political antagonism toward healthcare, and the resulting strain on healthcare workers,” said researchers.  

And although nurses are consistently the most likely to report wanting to leave their jobs, physicians and allied health professionals in the third quarter of 2021 had near-equivalent rates of departure plans.  

Burnout, perhaps unsurprisingly, is the strongest indicator of clinicians likelihood to leave their organization.   

“Attrition could also be lowered by preventing clinicians from becoming severely burned out in the first place – while clinicians who are completely burned out are most likely to leave, attrition likelihood grows rapidly beginning with those who report definite symptoms of burnout,” said researchers.  

Low trust in organization and IT leadership were also associated with the likelihood of leaving.  

Interestingly, users who are satisfied with the EHR are more likely to stay onboard – and the inverse is also true.  

“Those who are very dissatisfied with the EHR have almost three times the proportion reporting they are likely to leave compared to clinicians who are very satisfied with the EHR,” said researchers. “When clinicians feel the EHR is a help rather than a hindrance, they are more likely to want to stay at their organization.”

The report pointed to after-hours charting and duplicative charting as factors in contributing to low morale.  

“Just because a clinician has learned the EHR’s functionality does not mean they will be successful or satisfied with the EHR,” observed the KLAS team.  

THE LARGER TREND  

Other research has also raised the alarm about nurse attrition. One report from this past month found that a staggering 90% of nurses are considering leaving the profession altogether.  

Many pointed to administrative burden and manual tasks as key drivers of burnout, with poor processes and inefficient workflows hampering progress.  

And the EHR doesn’t always help: A study published this past April found that more favorable EHR useability scores are associated with lower odds of burnout, but that nurses gave EHR useability an “F.”  

“To design and implement technology that better meets nurses’ needs, it will be necessary to include input from and amplify the voice of nurses to better understand how technology can better meet their needs,” said the study.  

ON THE RECORD  

“When clinicians feel the EHR is a help rather than a hindrance, they are more likely to want to stay at their organization,” said the KLAS report.  

“Healthcare leaders should focus on improving the areas of EHR satisfaction with the most room to improve,” it added.

Kat Jercich is senior editor of Healthcare IT News.
Twitter: @kjercich
Email: [email protected]
Healthcare IT News is a HIMSS Media publication.

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