How Doctors May Be Spending More Time With Electronic Health Records Than Patients

A study showed how much time doctors spend with electronic health record systems for each encounter. … [+] (Photo: Getty Images)

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Your doctor may be spending more time with your electronic health record (EHR) than with you.

A study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that on average a physician spent 16 minutes and 14 seconds using the EHR for each patient that he or she saw. That’s great news for those who wrote in their medical school applications that they wanted to become physicians so that they can see EHRs. After all, this average time is one minute and 14 seconds longer than your typical 15-minute patient appointment slot.

The study was an analysis of data from EHR software log files. Whenever you log onto an EHR, you ain’t alone. Someone or something is watching you. Software log files can track what you are doing and how much time you spend on different functions. It can also help determine when you are simply logged on to the EHR versus when you are “actively” using it, based on things like mouse clicks and keystrokes. So if you want the software log file to think that you are doing lots of work, just keep clicking your mouse wildly in the EHR.

For the study, J. Marc Overhage, MD, PhD, and David McCallie Jr., MD, both of the Cerner Corporation, which makes widely-used EHR systems, extracted data from the Cerner Lights On Network software log files for about 155,000 physicians during their 100 million or so patient encounters

Keep reading this article on Forbes Business.

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