"Time Burden" of Electronic Health Records Highlighted — Physician’s First Watch

Medical News |
October 13, 2017

"Time Burden" of Electronic Health Records Highlighted

By Amy Orciari Herman

Edited by André Sofair, MD, MPH, and William E. Chavey, MD, MS

Nearly a third of ophthalmologists' time with patients is spent using their electronic health record (EHR), according to a small study in JAMA Ophthalmology. The researchers emphasize that the study findings "have important implications for all practicing physicians."

Five ophthalmologists at an Oregon academic medical center were observed during roughly 400 patient encounters. The physicians spent, on average, 11 minutes per patient encounter: 3 minutes using the EHR, 4.5 minutes talking to the patient, and 3.5 minutes examining the patient. An analysis of EHR time stamp data for 27 ophthalmologists corroborated the findings.

The researchers estimated that during a full-day clinic session, the ophthalmologists spent nearly 4 hours using the EHR: 2.1 hours during patient examinations and 1.6 outside the clinic session. They conclude that the results "support anecdotal reports that EHRs create significant time burdens."

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