A recent study by the American Medical Association (AMA) shows that physicians spend twice as much time with their EHR as they spend in “direct clinical face-time” with their patients.* Even more troubling: “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. Outside office hours, physicians spend another 1 to 2 hours of personal time each night doing additional computer and other clerical work..”
The study also found widespread career dissatisfaction among physicians with over 50% reporting “EHR burnout”. It’s no secret that physicians waste valuable time each day due to their EHR; 92% describe their EHR as “clunky” and “difficult to use” and 96% report that their practice will never return to pre-EHR productivity levels if they continue with their current EHR.**
According to author, speaker, and consultant on the subject of physician burnout, Dike Drummond, MD, physician burnout affects an estimated one in three physicians at any given time* “Improving the work life of physicians to help them avoid burnout is such an important goal that researchers are now calling it the “fourth aim” of health care, next to improving population health, enhancing the patient experience, and reducing costs.” Drummond says, “To avoid burnout, you have to address the stressors in your practice.” EHRs are a major source of practice stress.
*Study by the Annals of Internal Medicine and funded by the AMA, 2016. Available at: https://annals.org/aim/article/2546704/allocation-physician-time-ambulatory-practice-time-motion-study-4-specialties
***Physician Burnout: Its Origin, Symptoms, and Five Main Causes, Dike Drummond, MD, Fam Pract Manag. 2015 Sep-Oct;22(5):42-47. Eight Ways to Lower Practice Stress and Get Home Sooner. Dike Drummond, MD, Fam Pract Manag. 2015 Nov-Dec;22(6):13-18.