Researchers found seven core measures of EHR usage that need to be tracked and evaluated in order to help prevent clinician burnout.
Tracking and assessing EHR log data is crucial to learning more about the impact EHR use has on a clinician, which could help optimize the working environment and lessen clinician burnout, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association.
Although EHR usage is more prevalent than ever, this technology presents hardships to clinician health and lifestyle, resulting in clinician burnout.
“Clinicians infamously spend nearly two hours of EHR and desk work for every one hour of time they get to spend with their patients, the AMA found in a 2016 study.
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But looking at EHR log data, which would track how clinicians use the EHR and spend their time during clinical practice, could give insights into clinician burnout, the research team proposed.
The research team proposed seven core measures of EHR use that impact clinician efficiency at different levels. These measures include total EHR time, time spent on EHRs at home, documentation time, time spent prescribing, EHR inbox time, teamwork for orders, and the amount of undivided attention on patients.
“The analysis of EHR log data is emerging as a tool to further understand the clinical environment and to optimize operational, technological, and policy decisions,” they wrote.
These seven core measures are subject to change due to technology advances and evolving medical policies. However, they represent a solid base for further research. The research team also recognized that their current measures solely focus on physician EHR use, and that future work is necessary to measure how different providers, such as nurses, medical assistants, pharmacists, and advance practice practitioners, use EHRs.
“It is our intent that the measures provide insight and facilitate research regarding the efficiency of using EHRs in the practice environment, the effectiveness of teams, the impact of policies and regulations, and practice characteristics that contribute to physician distress or well-being,” researchers continued.
The research team also provided framework and denominators for further research to be done using the core measures.
These measures should be examined on days where clinicians are seeing only one patient per hour, on an eight-hour workday. This lightly scheduled day will allow clinicians to perform more EHR documentation and EHR work, compared to an overscheduled or busier day.
Researchers also want the log data to be collected over a one-month time period to gather proper information and cut out variables.
“Improving the physician experience should, in turn, positively impact the patient experience as well,” they concluded. “Furthermore, these standard measures will allow for better reproducibility and comparison of research studies.”
This study will further help researchers evaluate the core EHR usability problems that are linked to clinician burnout.
According to another study conducted by the AMA, high volumes of data entry and poor usability associated with EHRs are a main cause of burnout.
“A new study issued today found electronic medical records (EHRs) – as currently designed, implemented and regulated – lack usability as a necessary feature, resulting in EHRs that are extremely hard to use compared to other common technologies,” said AMA President Patrice Harris in a statement.
In a survey of over 5,000 physician EHR users, the researchers found that EHR usability largely received an “F” rating when evaluating a standardized metric of technology usability. And those “F” grades were strongly tied to high physician burnout scores.
“While the study was conducted by leading clinical institutions in collaboration with the American Medical Association (AMA), the findings will not come as a surprise to anyone who practices medicine,” continued Harris. “Too many physicians have experienced the demoralizing effects of cumbersome EHRs that interfere with providing first-rate medical care to patients.”
Source: EHR Intelligence