Female clinicians spend more time in the EHR, study finds

Female clinicians see fewer patients per week and spend more time on EHR documentation than their male counterparts, leading to less pay and increased burnout, according to study results released Jan. 26 by EHR company Athenahealth. 

The research team analyzed 8.1 million hours of active EHR work completed by 14,520 clinicians using Athenahealth software over a five-month period in the first half of 2021.

The study found female and male clinicians spend the same amount of time cumulatively on EHR documentation per week. However, it found female clinicians spend more time on documentation on a per-patient basis, scheduling an average of 60 visits per week, compared to their male counterparts, who schedule an average of 73 visits per week.

Gender differences in documentation minutes per visit is at least 20 percent across most clinician specialties, according to the study. In cardiology, female clinicians' documentation time per visit is 62 percent higher than their male counterparts. In neurology, it's 40 percent higher, and in orthopedic surgery, it's 33 percent higher.

"These findings represent another example of how the traditional, volume-based payment model for physician services contributes to gender inequities in healthcare," Jessica Sweeney-Platt, Athenahealth's vice president of research and editorial strategy, said in a news release. "Female clinicians tend to spend more time with patients, which we've learned includes the amount of time they spend in capturing and documenting each patient's story."

Learn more about the findings here.

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