Study: 1st-year physicians spend more time interacting with EHRs than patients

According to a new study published in JAMA Internal Medicine, first-year physicians spend, on average, 43 percent of the day interacting with patients' electronic health records.

After observing interns in internal medicine departments for a total of 2,173 hours over the course of more than two months, researchers found that first-year physicians spend 66 percent of their working time in indirect patient care, including nearly half of the day interacting with EHRs.

Furthermore, while the observed interns spent an average of just 13 percent of their time in direct patient care, that time was often spent multitasking. While interacting with patients, the first-year physicians regularly engaged in indirect patient care activities like working with EHRs, viewing images and reports, and communicating with team members.

The study's authors suggest that time spent in direct patient care is declining due to "the diffusion of the electronic health record, demands for more detailed documentation, and pressures to decrease the length of stay for common clinical conditions."

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