Associations of perceived changes in work due to digitalization and the amount of digital work with job strain among physicians : a national representative sample

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Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
A1 Alkuperäisartikkeli tieteellisessä aikakauslehdessä
Date
2023-12
Major/Subject
Mcode
Degree programme
Language
en
Pages
16
1-16
Series
BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making, Volume 23, issue 1
Abstract
Background: Physicians’ work is often stressful. The digitalization of healthcare aims to streamline work, but not all physicians have experienced its realization. We examined associations of perceived changes in work due to digitalization and the amount of digital work with job strain among physicians. The moderating role of the length of work experience was investigated for these associations. Methods: We used representative survey data on Finnish physicians’ (N = 4271) experiences of digitalization from 2021. The independent variables included perceptions on statements about work transformations aligned with digitalization goals, and the extent that information systems and teleconsultations were utilized. Stress related to information systems (SRIS), time pressure, and psychological stress were the dependent variables. We analyzed the associations using multivariable linear and logistic regressions. Results: Respondents had a mean SRIS score of 3.5 and a mean time pressure score of 3.7 on a scale of 1–5. Psychological stress was experienced by 60%. Perceptions associated with higher SRIS comprised disagreements with statements asserting that digitalization accelerates clinical encounters (b =.23 [95% CI:.16–.30]), facilitates access to patient information (b =.15 [.07–.23]), and supports decision-making (b =.11 [.05–.18]). Disagreement with accelerated clinical encounters (b =.12 [.04–.20]), and agreements with patients’ more active role in care (b =.11 [.04–.19]) and interprofessional collaboration (b =.10 [.02–.18]) were opinions associated with greater time pressure. Disagreeing with supported decision-making (OR = 1.26 [1.06–1.48]) and agreeing with patients’ active role (OR = 1.19 [1.02–1.40]) were associated with greater psychological stress. However, perceiving improvements in the pace of clinical encounters and access to patient information appeared to alleviate job strain. Additionally, extensive digital work was consistently linked to higher strain. Those respondents who held teleconsultations frequently and had less than 6 years of work experience reported the greatest levels of time pressure. Conclusions: Physicians seem to be strained by frequent teleconsultations and work that does not meet the goals of digitalization. Improving physicians’ satisfaction with digitalization through training specific to the stage of career and system development can be crucial for their well-being. Schedules for digital tasks should be planned and allocated to prevent strain related to achieving the digitalization goals.
Description
Funding Information: Open Access funding provided by Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare. This study was supported by the Strategic Research Council at the Academy of Finland (grants 327145 and 352501 for the DigiIN Project). The data collection was supported by Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare and the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health (Finland): Monitoring and assessment of social welfare and health care information system services, contract 002/OHO/EMR/2019, project number 414919001. The funders had no influence on the design of the study, collection, analysis, and interpretation of the data, or the conclusions. Publisher Copyright: © 2023, The Author(s).
Keywords
Electronic health records, Health information systems, Occupational stress, Physicians, Telemedicine
Other note
Citation
Virtanen , L , Kaihlanen , A M , Saukkonen , P , Reponen , J , Lääveri , T , Vehko , T , Saastamoinen , P , Viitanen , J & Heponiemi , T 2023 , ' Associations of perceived changes in work due to digitalization and the amount of digital work with job strain among physicians : a national representative sample ' , BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making , vol. 23 , no. 1 , 252 , pp. 1-16 . https://doi.org/10.1186/s12911-023-02351-9