Study: Doctors Using EHRs Spend More Time on Administrative Tasks

October 30, 2014 in News

Physicians who use electronic health record systems experience more administrative burdens than their peers who use paper records, according to a study published in the International Journal of Health Services, FierceEMR reports (Durben Hirsch, FierceEMR, 10/28).

Study Details

For the study, researchers from the City University of New York analyzed data from the 2008 Health Tracking Physician Survey — the most recent available — to gauge how much time physicians spend on administrative tasks. The data included a nationally representative sample of 4,720 physicians who practiced 20 or more hours per weeks (Physicians for a National Health Program release, 10/23).

Study Findings

The study found that physicians who used EHRs reported spending about 17% of their working hours on administrative tasks, compared with 15.5% of those who used paper records.

Doctors using both EHR and paper records faced the greatest administrative burden of all groups, spending about 18% of their workweek on administrative tasks, according to the study.

Overall, the study showed the average physician spent 16.6% of the workweek, or 8.7 hours, on administrative tasks.

In addition, the study found that more time spent on administrative tasks contributed to lower morale. For example, physicians who said they were “very satisfied” spent an average of 16.1% of their time doing administrative tasks, while doctors who reported being “very dissatisfied” spent 20.6% doing such work (Physicians for a National Health Program release, 10/23).

The researchers attributed the increased administrative burden among EHR users to:

  • EHR documentation being more time-consuming than paper documentation; and
  • Providers considering some EHR data entry that relates to patient care, such as billing, administrative (FierceEMR, 10/28).
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