Physicians spend 16 minutes per patient encounter using EHRs, Cerner study finds: 3 notes

Andrea Park for Becker’s Hospital Review

Each patient encounter requires an average of 16 minutes and 14 seconds in EHR use for physicians, including time spent outside of normal working hours, according to a study of data from Cerner’s analytics platform, the Lights On Network.

Here are three key takeaways from the study, which analyzed data from approximately 100 million patient encounters with 155,000 physicians of nonsurgical specialties:

  1. One-third of time spent using EHRs was dedicated to chart review, while documentation and ordering consumed 24 percent and 17 percent of the average 16-minute periods, respectively. Additionally, about 11 percent of the total time spent using EHRs was done so after hours — on weekends and between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. on weekdays.
  2. The average time spent using EHRs varied by specialty. Primary care physicians were found to use EHRs the longest: nearly 20 minutes per patient encounter, according to the study, cited by Healio.
  3. Despite reporting the quantity of time spent using EHRs, the study did not examine the quality of that time, Forbes notes. Further investigation is therefore necessary to understand how much of that time is spent on unnecessary tasks, the impact of that time on the ongoing physician burnout crisis and ways in which scribes, assistants and administrators could alleviate some of the burden.
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