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Nephrology Fellows Report Mixed Effects of EMR on Education, Time

51 percent of nephrology fellows note positive contribution, but time demands have negative impact

WEDNESDAY, June 24, 2020 (HealthDay News) — Electronic medical records (EMRs) may contribute positively to the education of nephrology fellows, but time demands can reduce engagement in educational activities, according to a study published online June 23 in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

Christina M. Yuan, M.D., from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, and colleagues surveyed U.S. nephrology program directors, their faculty, and fellows (33, 387, and 216 respondents, respectively) to assess educational burdens and benefits of EMR use.

The researchers found that about half (51 percent) of fellows agreed/strongly agreed that the EMR contributed positively to their education, with perceived positive effects such as flexibility in access and ease of obtaining laboratory and radiology results. Copy forward errors and excessive, irrelevant documentation were included as negative effects. More than 40 percent reported that EMR function was slow, disrupted, or completely lost monthly or more; these respondents were significantly less likely to agree that there had been a positive contribution of the EMR to their education. Time demands of EMR completion contributed to fellows’ reluctance to perform procedures, participate in conferences, prolong patient interactions, and do patient-directed reading (52, 57, 74, and 55 percent, respectively). Due to documentation time demands, 65 percent of fellows reported often/sometimes exceeding work-hour limits.

“The time demands of data and order entry reduces engagement in educational activities, contributes to work-hour violations, and stifles direct patient interactions,” the authors write.

One author is employed as a research physician at AstraZeneca.

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