5 Ways to Use Technology to Fight Healthcare Worker Burnout

Updated on May 22, 2024

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says calling the level of burnout among healthcare workers a “crisis” is an “understatement.” According to an October 2023 CDC report, 46% of healthcare workers reported feeling burned out often or very often, a statistic that underscores the urgency of addressing this issue. Compounding the problem are ongoing shortages of physicians and nurses.

Burnout poses a significant threat to healthcare professionals’ well-being, staff retention rates and the quality of patient care. Technology – in the form of a digital operations platform, or DOP – can play a significant role in identifying burnout’s early signs and effectively addressing them. 

DOPs, which connect employee health records (EHR), human capital management (HCM), enterprise resource planning (ERP) and other technology systems, can track key metrics that could indicate staff burnout, giving healthcare leaders a chance to alleviate issues before they gain traction.

Benefits of Reducing Healthcare Burnout

The COVID-19 pandemic intensified long-standing challenges within the healthcare workforce. More than 145,000 providers left the industry from 2021 to 2022. And, while many of COVID’s effects have subsided, the worker shortage has not.

With staffing shortages at an all-time high, workers are experiencing longer shifts and irregular hours that add to job strain. Required compliance documentation can consume 30% of the workday. Disparate technology systems prevalent in the healthcare industry not only hinder strategic initiatives but also contribute to staff exhaustion. For example, even the need to switch between multiple applications each day and to enter the same data into separate systems has been shown to elevate stress.

Reducing burnout is not only better for healthcare providers and their staff members; it’s also good for business. Burned-out employees tend to become mentally and emotionally disengaged from the organization and from patients, with a resulting negative impact on value-based patient care. Microsoft data highlights the potential financial benefits of addressing burnout: Even a 1% increase in engagement translates to a significant increase in revenue and profitability.

Five Ways Technology Reduces Worker Burnout

Technology is traditionally viewed through a lens of business advancement. That limited perspective, however, overlooks its potential to alleviate employee burnout.

Implementing a DOP can improve the end-user experience while also increasing productivity. Unlike legacy ERP systems, which tend to be inflexible and costly to upgrade, implementing a DOP creates a centerpoint where data becomes an asset.

A DOP can:

  • Provide a complete picture of what’s happening in the organization. Siloed systems provide a fragmented perspective, as best. A DOP, on the other hand, connects and aggregates data from multiple platforms, providing a comprehensive view of the practice.
  • Reveal otherwise hidden signs of burnout. Reporting can be set up to point out predictive indicators that identify potential burnout – such as increased costs in temporary staffing due to absenteeism – and at-risk employees – those who are seeing fewer patients or making more errors, for example.

Leaders thus can begin to anticipate burnout threats and implement mitigation measures in advance, while automations can recommend resources to help build employee resilience. It is important to note that these automations should still be combined with effective listening and soliciting constructive feedback from team members to create action plans.

Recognizing that burnout levels may vary across specialties and departments within a healthcare organization, a DOP also can leverage data analytics so that leaders can understand workload distribution, identify peaks and valleys and optimally allocate resources.

  • Remove the manual processes associated with collecting and analyzing data. Several studies have shown, for instance, that time spent charting patient records is an employee stressor. By integrating EHR with other clinical systems, a DOP decreases the time spent on such activities.
  • Optimize operational efficiency. As one example, healthcare practice financial personnel often must manually review supplier invoices against purchase orders. A DOP can use optical character recognition to compare invoices with purchase orders and automatically send payments. Only those with differing amounts – which the DOP flags – will then require manual review. A DOP also can locate general ledger errors, fix them and approve the final figures.

In another example, artificial intelligence, increasingly included in newer technologies that would be part of a DOP, can automatically transcribe provider notes. Eliminating the work health care professionals usually dedicate to completing this task removes that ongoing pressure. 

  • Harness the platform as a communication and collaboration channel that helps identify and mediate burnout. A DOP could be used, for example, to send out employee surveys that facilitate leaders’ understanding of where their team members may be struggling. Wellness programs within a DOP’s platforms then could provide training classes and provide documentation on mental health and stress reduction.

Creating a Technology Roadmap for DOP

To implement a DOP that will help to identify and combat employee burnout, healthcare organizations should take these steps:


  • Identify holistically what challenges the organization’s technology systems need to solve.
  • Consider retaining a third-party technology advisor to provide guidance that aligns with leaders’ goals.
  • Conduct an objective analysis of the organization’s current technology infrastructure and data use.
  • Identify technological weaknesses and strengths.
  • Emphasize the importance of accessing quality data from systems to better understand and address worker burnout.


  • Develop a roadmap and a prioritized timeline for technology transformation, considering organizational constraints such as logistics and finances.
  • Recognize that reaching the ideal future state typically involves incremental, manageable steps.

Engagement Strategy

  1. Implement an engagement strategy to address existing worker burnout, focusing on providing support and tools to affected individuals.
  2. Prioritize quick implementation of engagement strategies that help affected workers navigate through burnout and return to a healthier state as quickly as possible.

DOPs offer a compelling solution to the pressing issue of burnout in the healthcare industry. Digital transformation is a journey, and organizations should aim for phased implementations to achieve holistic solutions that provide a pathway to a healthier, more resilient workforce—one that is better equipped to meet the challenges of modern healthcare delivery.

Tom Thornton 1
Tom Thornton
Healthcare Practice Director at Net at Work

Tom Thornton is Healthcare Practice Director at Net at Work, North America’s largest provider of next-generation, digital operations platform technology solutions for small-to-medium sized medical providers and long-term care facilities. To learn how your organization can compete more effectively in today’s digital economy, visit www.netatwork.com.

Harold G. Ford
Harold Ford
Employee Experience Practice Director at Net at Work

Harold Ford is Employee Experience Practice Director at Net at Work, North America’s largest provider of next-generation, digital operations platform technology solutions for small-to-medium sized medical providers and long-term care facilities. To learn how your organization can compete more effectively in today’s digital economy, visit www.netatwork.com.