Physicians still spend more time with EHRs than with patients — 5 study insights

A study, published in Family Medicine, examined how EHRs impact ambulatory primary care settings.

Researchers observed family physician attendees and residents as they interacted with patients at over 982 clinical visits. They documented total visit time, previsit chart time, face-to-face time, non-face time, out-of-hours EHR work time and total EHR work time.

Here's what they found:

1. Mean visit length was 35.8 minutes, which didn't include resident precepting time.

2. During the visit, physicians worked on EHRs prior to a patient entering the room for 2.9 minutes.

3. Physicians spent 16.5 minutes of face time with patients. They spent two minutes working on EHRs in the room.

4. Physicians also spent 7.5 minutes of non-face time on EHRs, and 6.9 minutes outside of clinical operational hours on EHRs.

5. Researchers found a slight variance between faculty physicians, third-year and second-year residents concerning EHR use.

Researchers concluded, "Primary care physicians spent more time working in the EHR than they spent in face-to-face time with patients in clinic visits."

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