Doctors are burnt out, but there is some hope - and it's coming from AI

An image of a doctor showing a patient a medical record
(Image credit: Pixabay)

A recent survey conducted by athenahealth and The Harris Poll has discovered US physicians struggling with widespread burnout caused by excessive administrative workloads, reduced staffing, and financial concerns.

Of the more than 1,000 primary care and specialist physicians surveyed, a staggering 93% reported feeling burnt out regularly. The average physician spent 15 hours per week on work outside of normal hours, accounting for three hours per working day.

Despite these tough conditions, some positivity was expressed with regards to artificial intelligence. Four in five (83%) believe AI could alleviate healthcare problems, with 65% praising AI for enhancing care quality and 54% for improving efficiency across electronic health record (EHR) systems.

Healthcare cries out for radical changes or serious consequences

More than half (56%) had contemplated leaving the field or continuing without patient interaction due to the mounting challenges, raising concerns about the impact of the healthcare system’s success across the US, as well as globally.

athenahealth Chief Medical Office Dr Nele Jessel highlighted the need for the technology to reduce administrative burdens, allowing physicians to refocus on patient care, however Dr Jessel called for a solution with very few complexities in order to get more doctors behind the time-saving tech.

Financial sustainability remains a concern, too, with only two in five (38%) seeing their practices as financially stable. Fee-for-service models are also reported to be interfering with physicians’ abilities to provide quality care.

The overall sentiment of the report is that the human touch continues to be an incredibly vital pillar of healthcare, however AI that seamlessly integrates to reduce the burden of repetitive administrative tasks could have a considerable effect on how much time physicians have to do their work, reducing burnout, improving productivity, and tackling cost efficiency.

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Craig Hale

With several years’ experience freelancing in tech and automotive circles, Craig’s specific interests lie in technology that is designed to better our lives, including AI and ML, productivity aids, and smart fitness. He is also passionate about cars and the decarbonisation of personal transportation. As an avid bargain-hunter, you can be sure that any deal Craig finds is top value!