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Doctors Spend Almost Six Hours Per Day on EHR Tasks

HealthDay News

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FRIDAY, Sept. 15, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- Physicians spend almost six hours per day in the electronic health record (EHR), with 4.5 hours spent during clinic hours and 1.4 hours spent after clinic hours, according to a study published in the September/October issue of the Annals of Family Medicine.

Brian G. Arndt, M.D., from the University of Wisconsin in Madison, and colleagues conducted a retrospective study of 142 family medicine physicians in a single system in southern Wisconsin. The authors captured all Epic Systems Corporation EHR interactions over a three-year period for direct patient care and non-face-to-face activities; these were validated by direct observations.

The researchers found that clinicians spent 355 minutes (5.9 hours) of an 11.4-hour workday in the EHR per weekday for each 1.0 clinical full-time equivalent: 269 and 86 minutes during and after clinic hours, respectively. Documentation, order entry, billing and coding, and system security were clerical and administrative tasks that accounted for 44.2 percent of the total EHR time. Another 85 minutes (23.7 percent) was accounted for by inbox management.

"Primary care physicians spend more than one-half of their workday, nearly six hours, interacting with the EHR during and after clinic hours," the authors write. "EHR event logs can identify areas of EHR-related work that could be delegated, thus reducing workload, improving professional satisfaction, and decreasing burnout."

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