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For surgical specialties, the consequences of physician burnout can be significant, such as medical errors and lower quality of care. In a study by the Rowan University of School of Osteopathic Medicine, 62% of 149 orthopedic surgeons surveyed experienced symptoms of burnout.[i] Another study by Medscape revealed that 33% of orthopedic surgeons reported experiencing burnout in 2020 resulting from too many bureaucratic tasks and extensive working hours.[ii]

A 2021 survey published by the National Library of Medicine reported that out of a group of 592 ophthalmologists, 224 said they had suffered from various degrees of burnout.[iii]

There are many possible causes of burnout and many ways to address the problem. Improving the provider experience by optimizing health IT can be part of the solution. Mobile technology can help surgeons reclaim time that would otherwise be used for documenting care in the EHR. This opens opportunities for them to achieve a better work/life balance and reenergize passion in their work.

An EHR in your pocket

With NextGen® Mobile Solutions, a surgeon can easily pull up and review a patient’s chart on their smartphone. It’s all there at their fingertips—from previous histories and medications to any documents they may need to view. They can prescribe medications, reducing documentation burdens from working on a desktop. Surgeons can dictate an encounter anywhere—while with the patient, in the office, or during a walk in the park. Both heavy and light workloads become more manageable.

For example, an orthopedic or ophthalmic surgeon who sees more than 50 patients a day and uses a mobile solution can manage care documentation for these encounters more comfortably. If they want to see fewer patients and spend more time with each one, working with a mobile device enables them to manage the documentation hassle-free. Whatever the workload that day brings, the surgeon has a tool that makes their job easier. With a mobile solution, they can push away the computer during a patient’s visit and confidently use a smartphone as their go-to documentation platform.

One example is the surgeons at Eye Center South, who leverage NextGen® Mobile to ease dictation tasks following procedures and surgeries.

Quick, easy, and more flexible

A variety of dictation and transcription options can help turn another strenuous day in the EHR into a flexible, less tedious work environment:

  • NextGen® Speech-to-Text captures dictation and converts it to text. The surgeon simply edits and sends it to the EHR.
  • With NextGen® Transcription Services, a transcriptionist reviews the dictation audio, edits the text, and the edited document is automatically uploaded to the EHR.
  • With NextGen® Remote Scribe Services, a recording of a surgeon’s dictation is sent to a scribe who documents the encounter in the EHR.
  • NextGen® Virtual Live Scribe, a new service currently being piloted, enables a professional scribe to participate virtually in a visit, documenting the encounter in the EHR in real time.

Loosen ties that keep surgeons inside the office

Mobile technology allows orthopedic surgeons and ophthalmologists to work inside and outside their offices. When on-call, they have convenient access to a patient’s records on their smartphones and can meet with patients without asking them about their history. Laptops and desktops stay in the background. The ability to document outside traditional methods is liberating and helps reduce the root causes of burnout for surgical specialists.

A quicker, less stressful provider-experience

An ophthalmologist may complain that it takes too long to enter information into the EHR through a desktop computer—their hands aren’t made for that sort of thing. A mobile solution would help them because the process is quicker than using a desktop. Speaking into a smartphone is less stressful and saves time.

Time is of the essence when handling a high volume of patients that requires significant scribe support. Patients and ophthalmologists seldom meet without one or even two scribes in the room. Good scribes can be hard to find in light of the pandemic and “great resignation.” With the different scribe options available with NextGen Mobile, the surgeon can click on their phone at the start of a visit and let a professional outside the office enter the data.

Quick and easy clinical documentation is key

For the orthopedic surgeon, it’s critical to see patients in the office with the goal of getting them into surgery. Seamless workflows are essential for treating them and making room for new patients. The more efficient the post-op, the more room surgeons have to treat new patients. NextGen Mobile lets surgeons quickly document patients’ post-op information without touching the EHR.

Keep hands away from the EHR

Burnout among ophthalmologists and orthopedic surgeons can be eased when the need to touch the EHR is minimized—a breakaway from traditional clinical documentation. Mobile technology allows these specialists to take better control of their day. The days of dragging around a laptop or driving to the office to document care can become forgettable memories. 

Click here to learn more about how mobile and remote scribe technology changes everything.

Our next blog will explore the greater efficiency of being liberated from end-of-the-day desk work.

[i] Pilot study investigates physician burnout among orthopedic subspecialties, September 11, 2020, Healio Orthopedics,

[ii] 33% of orthopedic surgeons burned out in 2020: 10 findings, Jan. 25, 2021, Becker’s Spine Review,

[iii] Physician burnout in ophthalmology, June 1, 2022, National Library of Medicine,

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Molly Van Oordt
Director, Specialty Solutions
Kristi Bolinger
Director, Specialty Solutions