EHRs *do* take more time! (JAMA)

If your doctor or nurse is frustrated by their EHR, it’s not because they are a technophobe or klutzy on the keyboard. According to a research letter published in JAMA Internal Medicine (8 Sept), internal medicine physicians reported a loss of time of 48 minutes daily due to EHR use. 411 internal medicine attending physicians and trainees who worked in an ambulatory practice and used an EHR system responded to a 19-question survey in December 2012 by the American College of Physicians. The trainees reported a lower time loss–18 minutes. No conclusion is reached for this difference. Other findings indicated what took more time:

  • 89.8 percent said at least one data management function was slower
  • 63.9 percent said the time spent taking notes increased
  • 33.9 percent said the time spent finding and reviewing patient data took longer
  • 32.2 percent said they spent more time reading other clinicians’ notes

The time losses and slowdowns are significant in that they take away from patient care. With doctors such as psychiatrists who must take extensive patient progress notes, this must be an annoyance. What may be positive is that a significant number spent additional time reading other clinicians’ notes. Solutions read like Band-Aids©: scribes (a/k/a note-takers), standing orders and phone conversations to save time (which seems besides the point in documentation.) For our UK readers–have there been similar results?  iHealthBeat, FierceMobileHealthcare

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