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How much time does EHR work take up for primary care doctors?

Among the common tasks for doctors these days are those related to keeping electronic health records (EHRs). These tasks can take up a fair amount of a doctor’s time. Just how much time? A recent study suggests that it is typical for primary care physicians to use almost half of their work day on EHR-related matters.

The study focused on 140 Wisconsin primary care doctors. These doctors all had an association with the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Researchers looked at the EHR use of these physicians. The study found that, on average, about 45 percent of the doctors’ work day was taken up by EHR tasks.

A doctor only has a finite number of hours in a day to do the many tasks related to the care of their patients. So, a doctor having to spend a big chunk of their time on EHR matters could have many impacts.

For one, it could affect how much stress a doctor is under. The researchers in the above-mentioned study noted that having to spend large amounts of time on EHR tasks could trigger things like increased burnout and lowered job satisfaction for doctors.

It could also cut down on the amount of time a doctor has with patients. This could have a variety of care implications.

So, among the things a doctor may be worried about when they are having to do a lot of EHR work is that it will get in the way of them being able to give their patients the high-quality care they aim to provide. What steps do you think Wisconsin hospitals should be taking to try to reduce the time burden EHRs place on doctors?

When anything leads to a doctor facing allegations of coming up short in the quality of the care they give to patients, it could have major ramifications for the doctor. For one, it could lead to disciplinary matters or other major legal issues that could be career-impacting in very significant ways. When a doctor is worried about the future of their professional career due to accusations they are facing related to patient care, they may want to promptly go over their situation with a health law attorney.

Soure: Greenville Online, “Family doctors spend half their day on electronic health records, study shows,” Liv Osby, Sept. 15, 2017

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