Men vs. women: Which physicians spend more time in EHR?

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There appears to be a significant gender difference in EHR use, with female physicians spending about 30 minutes more per day on EHRs compared to their male counterparts, according to a study published April 5 in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association

A team of researchers led by New Haven, Conn.-based Yale Medicine's Edward Melnick, MD, measured core efficiencies of EHR technologies in seven areas. A group of physicians proposed the areas, which were: total EHR time spent during an eight-hour shift, work done outside of standard work hours, documenting patient health, documenting prescriptions, responding to emails, coordinating medical orders and undivided attention given to patients.

The researchers applied the standard measurements across EHR systems using different vendor products; they examined Yale New Haven Health, which uses Epic, and MedStar, which uses Cerner. The study also included data from 573 physicians across multiple specialties.

After controlling for physician age, specialty, vendor and number of hours worked, the researchers found that female physicians spent an additional 33 minutes per day on EHRs compared to male physicians. It's unclear what drove this difference, but Dr. Melnick said he wants to further explore the observation.

"This finding is so compelling because it suggests that female physicians interact with the EHR in a different way than male physicians do," he said in an April 5 news release. "We don't know what it is, but now that we have a way to measure it and identify it, we can begin to understand it better and hopefully build systems that address those needs."


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