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EHR Time Exceeds Patient Face Time in Family Practice

EHR Time Exceeds Patient Face Time in Family Practice

Primary care physicians spend less time interacting face-to-face with their patients than they do working on electronic health records (EHR), according to a cross-sectional study published in the February issue of Family Medicine.

“The majority of family physicians worked through lunch, stayed late at clinic, or took their work home to complete the day’s EHR work,” write Richard A. Young, MD, from the JPS Family Medicine Residency Program in Fort Worth, Texas, and colleagues.

“Significant predictors of visit length included the number of reasons for the visit, new patients to the practice, the number of medications prescribed, whether the physician was Hispanic, whether a resident physician presented the patient to an attending physician, whether the patient had one or multiple physicians caring for him or her, and a few other factors,” the authors explain.

“Our findings have important economic implications for family physicians.”

The researchers visited clinics affiliated with 10 Residency Research Network of Texas residencies to observe attending family physicians, their residents, and their patients, and to measure time spent on different clinic-related tasks. The researchers made explicit efforts to choose physicians with a diversity of patient care styles and observed every other visit on observation days. Tasks timed included the following: total visit time, previsit chart time, face-to-face time, nonface time, out-of-hours EHR work time, and total EHR work time…

 

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