Background: Physician burnout is a problem that often is attributed to the use of the electronic health record (EHR).
Objective: To estimate the prevalence of burnout and work-life balance satisfaction in primary care residents and teaching physicians, and to examine the relationship between these outcomes, EHR use, and other practice and individual factors.
Methods: Residents and faculty in 19 primary care programs were anonymously surveyed about burnout, work-life balance satisfaction, and EHR use. Additional items included practice size, specialty, EHR characteristics, and demographics. A logistic regression model identified independent factors associated with burnout and work-life balance satisfaction.
Results: In total, 585 of 866 surveys (68%) were completed, and 216 (37%) respondents indicated 1 or more symptoms of burnout, with 162 (75%) attributing burnout to the EHR. A total of 310 of 585 (53%) reported dissatisfaction with work-life balance, and 497 (85%) indicated that use of the EHR affected their work-life balance. Respondents who spent more than 6 hours weekly after hours in EHR work were 2.9 times (95% confidence interval [CI] 1.9-4.4) more likely to report burnout and 3.9 times (95% CI 1.9-8.2) more likely to attribute burnout to the EHR. They were 0.33 times (95% CI 0.22-0.49) as likely to report work-life balance satisfaction, and 3.7 times (95% CI 2.1-6.7) more likely to attribute their work-life balance satisfaction to the EHR.
Conclusions: More after-hours time spent on the EHR was associated with burnout and less work-life satisfaction in primary care residents and faculty.