Telemedicine tied to physician EHR burden: Study

Telemedicine is linked to increased physician EHR-related work, both within and beyond their regular working hours, an Oct. 30 study published in JAMA Internal Medicine found.

The research examined the weekly metadata of EHRs for outpatient physicians at UCSF Health, based in San Francisco, to assess the correlation between the expansion of telemedicine and the amount of time ambulatory physicians spend within EHRs and patient messaging — both before and after the commencement of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Researchers compared identical EHR metrics from the year preceding the COVID-19 pandemic (August 2018 to September 2019) with the corresponding timeframe in the year following its emergence (August 2020 to September 2021).

The findings from the study suggested that telemedicine is linked to increased physician EHR engagement, both during and beyond their typical work hours. This mainly involves documenting visits rather than messaging patients. 

The researchers concluded that health systems might need to revise their productivity expectations for physicians and devise approaches to alleviate the burden of EHR documentation.


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