Infectious Disease

Docs spend considerably extra time with EHRs than ladies docs

December 08, 2020

2 min read

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Female doctors spent an average of 33.4 additional minutes a day – or more than three additional 40-hour work weeks per year – working on electronic health records than their male counterparts, researchers reported.

The results contradict previous study results, which “indicated that female doctors spend less time on paid work than male doctors,” they wrote. “However, these data suggest that measuring time spent on paid work without taking into account time outside of scheduled hours may underestimate the workload of female doctors.”

Reference: Tait S, et al. JAMA Intern Med. 2020; doi: 10.1001 / jamainternmed.2020.5036.

Sarah D. Tait, BA, A medical student at Duke University School of Medicine and colleagues analyzed ambulatory EHR usage data from 997 doctors – 389 of them women – from a single academic medical center. Clinicians with EHR data of less than one month or patients who were not regularly treated as outpatients were not included in the analysis. The researchers also collected patient satisfaction scores from doctors who had 10 or more reviews.

Their results, published in JAMA Internal Medicine, show that female doctors spent more time on EHRs than male doctors in all metrics in the study – including the time they spent on EHRs each day (median of 102.2 vs. 68.8 minutes; P <0.001); outside of 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. (median of 24.4 vs. 15.2 minutes; P <0.001); outside of the scheduled hours (median 34.6 vs. 23.8 minutes; P <0.001); and during unscheduled days (median of 40.6 vs. 27.2 minutes; P <0.001). According to the researchers, these differences remained significant after stratifying by surgical or medical specialties. There were also no gender differences in terms of patient satisfaction or efficiency, "including the percentage of orders with team contributions and the percentage of health records closed on the day of the visit," the researchers wrote.

“These estimates did not take into account time spent on mobile devices or inactive time, which likely underestimated actual usage,” wrote Tait and colleagues. They encouraged future studies to examine the links between EHR time investment and quality of care, the impact on doctor burnout, and causative factors behind gender gaps in EHR use.

In a related editorial Jennifer Claytor, MD, MS, and Richard W. Grant, MD, MPH, Both those on the editorial board of JAMA Internal Medicine called for systematic changes that would give new clinicians “optimal time management to enable them to reconcile multiple time constraints with minimal documentation.” They said these efforts “could reduce gender gaps in medicine while making a significant contribution to overall burnout for all doctors”.

References:

Claytor J, Grant RW. JAMA Intern Med. 2020; doi: 10.1001 / jamainternmed.2020.5008.

Tait S. et al. JAMA Intern Med. 2020; doi: 10.1001 / jamainternmed.2020.5036.

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Focus on: Doctor Burnout

Focus on: Doctor Burnout

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