Hospitals with 'basic' EHRs keep physicians longer than those with 'advanced' EHRs, study finds

Although many reports have attributed physicians leaving medicine to frustration with EHRs, a recent study in the forthcoming issue of Information Systems Research shows basic EHRs have increased the tenure of physicians' hospital-based careers.

The problem, the researchers say, isn't with EHRs in general — but with more advanced EHRs. Specifically, those with computerized provider order entry or physician documentation, which are known to be more disruptive to physicians' day-to-day routines.

For the study, a team of researchers examined connections between physician employment and EHR implementations using data from the Hospital Inpatient Dataset provided by the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration and information from the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society Analytics between 2000 and 2010.

"Interestingly, we did not find increases in retirements or widescale departures, but we did find that advanced EHRs did push doctors to less sophisticated hospitals, while basic EHRs actually increased tenure at the hospital," Corey Angst, PhD, study author and professor at the University of Notre Dame (Ind.) Mendoza College of Business, said in a news release.

EHRs do create benefits for physicians, such as reducing their workloads or preventing costly errors, according to the study authors. However, when these technologies force physicians to change their routines —  particularly among older physicians and specialists — there is an "obvious exodus," Dr. Angst added.

"Most doctors don't want to have to look at a screen and document what the patient is saying while doing an exam," Dr. Angst said. "The [physician documentation] module requires doctors to either document the things they are doing at the moment of the exam or immediately following — or they have to employ a scribe to do it while they are doing the patient exam. The CPOE creates alerts that many doctors ignore because they think they know better or because of a known history with the patient. These can be very disruptive and in some cases they require doctors to work around the alert."

The access the complete study, click here.

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