Physicians in ambulatory settings spend nearly 49% of their office hours on EHRs, desk work: 5 things to know

Annals of Internal Medicine published a study finding physicians in ambulatory settings spend a significant amount of time on electronic health records and desk work.

In the study, researchers analyzed physicians in family medicine, internal medicine, cardiology and orthopedics throughout Illinois, New Hampshire, Virginia and Washington.

Here are five things to know:

1. Throughout the office day, physicians spent 27 percent of their time on direct clinical face time with patients.

2. They spent 49.2 percent of their time on EHR and desk work during office hours.

3. When physicians were in the examination room with patients, they spent 52.9 percent of their time on direct clinical face time and 37 percent on EHR and desk work.

4. Researchers concluded for every hour physicians offer direct clinical face time to patients, they spend 2 extra hours on EHR and desk work during the clinical day. Physicians also spend an additional one hour to two hours of their personal time each night completing computer and other clerical work.

5. Investigators noted study limitations include the data was gathered in self-selected, high-performing practices, and therefore may not apply to other settings. The study did not support "formal statistical comparisons by physician and practice characteristics."

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