brand logo

Reducing physician burden starts with four key changes.

Fam Pract Manag. 2023;30(3):21-25

This content conforms to AAFP criteria for CME.

Author disclosure: no relevant financial relationships.

work after clinic

Burnout rates among physicians continue to rise. In the 2023 Medscape Physician Burnout and Depression Report, 57% of family medicine physicians reported feeling burnt out — up 10 percentage points in five years.1 Among all specialties, 53% of physicians reported burnout. The top contributor was “too many bureaucratic tasks,” such as paperwork and charting requirements. Too many working hours and the increasing computerization of practice were also cited as key causes.

A prior study helped quantify this burden. It showed that family physicians spent an average of 5.9 hours of an 11.4-hour workday in the electronic health record (EHR), with an average of nearly 90 minutes of “pajama time” (work outside of normal working hours) per day.2

Recently, the U.S. Surgeon General called on health systems, insurers, government agencies, and others to implement system-level changes to address health worker burnout.3 But many of us are looking for more immediate ways to alleviate this burden. To address this need in my practice, part of my time is dedicated to working one-on-one with primary care physicians and advanced practice providers to find meaningful ways to improve clinical workflows and optimize use of the EHR to decrease their pajama time and reduce burnout. We cannot fix everything, so we focus on what we can control. This article shares the top four tips that work for us again and again, and some lessons we've learned about the process.

Already a member or subscriber?  Log In


From $95
  • Immediate, unlimited access to all FPM content
  • More than 36 CME credits/year
  • AAFP app access
  • Print delivery available

Issue Access

  • Immediate, unlimited access to this issue's content
  • CME credits
  • AAFP app access
  • Print delivery available

Article Only

  • Immediate, unlimited access to just this article
  • CME credits
  • AAFP app access
  • Print delivery available
Interested in AAFP membership?  Learn More

Continue Reading

More in FPM

More in Pubmed

Copyright © 2023 by the American Academy of Family Physicians.

This content is owned by the AAFP. A person viewing it online may make one printout of the material and may use that printout only for his or her personal, non-commercial reference. This material may not otherwise be downloaded, copied, printed, stored, transmitted or reproduced in any medium, whether now known or later invented, except as authorized in writing by the AAFP.  See permissions for copyright questions and/or permission requests.