By Bruce Japsen, Forbes, Contributor
Sep 6, 2016 @ 07:13 AM – Physicians may be spending twice as much time grappling with new electronic health record systems and “desk work” as they are providing medical care to their patients, according to a new study.
An analysis of nearly 60 doctors in four U.S. states shows electronic health record systems designed to speed patient referrals and improve treatment are contributing to doctor burnout and taking away from patient care. The findings from a “time and motion” study are published in the Sept. 6 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine.
“ For every hour physicians provide direct clinical face time to patients, nearly 2 additional hours is spent on EHR and desk work within the clinic day,” researchers wrote. “Outside office hours, physicians spend another 1 to 2 hours of personal time each night doing additional computer and other clerical work.”
For their analysis, researchers examined the work flow and patient care of 57 doctors in ambulatory care settings such as family and internal medicine, cardiology and orthopedics. The study was funded primarily by the American Medical Association.
“During the office day, physicians spent 27% of their total time on direct clinical face time with patients and 49.2% of their time on (electronic health records) and desk work,” the report in the annals of internal medicine said. “While in the examination room with patients, physicians spent 52.9% of the time on direct clinical face time and 37% on EHR and desk work.”