HealthDay News — The usability of current electronic health records (EHRs) is classified as unacceptable, with physician-rated EHR usability independently linked to the odds of burnout, according to a study published in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

Edward R. Melnick, MD, from the Yale University School of Medicine in New Haven, Connecticut, and colleagues conducted a cross-sectional survey of US physicians to examine physician-perceived EHR usability, as assessed using the System Usability Scale (SUS). A total of 5197 physicians completed surveys, and 1250 respondents in the primary survey received a subsurvey assessing EHR usability; 69.6% completed the subsurvey.

The researchers found that the mean SUS score was 45.9 ± 21.9, which was in the bottom 9% of scores across previous studies and was classified as “not acceptable” with a grade of F. Physician-rated EHR usability was independently associated with the odds of burnout in multivariable analysis adjusting for age, sex, medical specialty, practice setting, hours worked, and numbers of nights on call weekly; each 1 point more favorable SUS score correlated with a significant reduction in burnout (odds ratio, 0.97).

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“Given the association between EHR usability and physician burnout, improving EHR usability may be an important approach to help reduce health care professional burnout,” the authors write.

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