By Kelly Young
Edited by David G. Fairchild, MD, MPH
For every hour spent with patients, physicians spend 2 hours on electronic health records (EHR) and desk work, according to an Annals of Internal Medicine study.
Researchers observed nearly 60 physicians from 16 practices during office hours. Physicians completed diaries documenting after-hours work.
Based on 430 hours of observation, 49% of physicians' office hours were spent on EHR and desk work while 27% was spent directly with patients. When meeting with patients, physicians spent 37% of their time on EHR and desk work. After office hours, physicians worked a mean of 1.5 hours per day, with most of that time dedicated to EHR tasks.
Physicians who had documentation support, such as dictation or a documentation assistant, had more direct interaction time with patients than physicians without support. An editorialist writes: "Learning colleagues' strategies to alleviate some of the practice hassles related to EHRs is a great way to move forward and make improvements."