Primary care physicians spend close to 6 hours performing EHR tasks, study finds

Primary care physicians spend nearly six hours, more than half of their workday, interacting with EHRs, according to a study published in the Annals of Family Medicine

Researchers conducted a retrospective cohort study of 142 family medicine physicians in Wisconsin. They studied Epic EHR interactions via "event logging" records over a three-year period, which included both direct patient care and non–face-to-face activities. They validated EHR interactions by direct observation.

The study shows clinicians spent 5.9 hours of an 11.4-hour workday using  EHRs. They spend around 4.5 hours interacting with EHRs during clinic hours and 1.4 hours after clinic hours.

Clerical and administrative tasks accounted for 44.2 percent of total EHR time. These tasks include documentation, order entry, system security and billing and coding. Inbox management accounted for 23.7 percent of total EHR time.

"Poorly-designed and implemented EHRs have physicians suffering from a growing sense that they are neglecting their patients and working more outside of clinic hours as they try to keep up with an overload of type-and-click tasks," said AMA President David O. Barbe, MD.

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