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EHR Use Varies Across Primary Care Specialties

Pediatric clinicians spend less total and after-hours time versus general medicine and family medicine clinicians

WEDNESDAY, July 14, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Pediatric clinicians spend significantly less total and after-hours time actively using electronic health record (EHR) systems compared with general medicine and family medicine clinicians, according to a research letter published online July 9 in JAMA Network Open.

Lisa S. Rotenstein, M.D., from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, and colleagues compared EHR use across general pediatrics, general internal medicine, and family medicine clinicians. The analysis included 349 U.S.-based ambulatory health care organizations using the same EHR vendor (Epic Systems) between January and August 2019.

The researchers found that across organizations, there were a mean of 12.9 encounters per day among general pediatric clinicians, 11.5 encounters per day among general internal medicine clinicians, and 12.8 encounters per day among family medicine clinicians. Total active EHR time each day was a mean of 94.7 minutes among general pediatric clinicians, 121.5 minutes among general internal medicine clinicians, and 127.8 minutes among family medicine clinicians, while mean daily after-hours active time was 23.6, 34.4, and 31.2 minutes, respectively. While time spent on notes was comparable among primary care specialties, pediatric clinicians received one-fifth as many prescription messages, one-third as many patient messages, one-half as many team messages, and less than one-half as many results messages versus family medicine and general medicine clinicians.

“Some differences may be attributed to the lesser medical complexity of pediatric patients,” the authors write. “However, it is notable that time spent on notes was similar across specialties, suggesting that documentation burdens may be driven by factors beyond patient complexity.”

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the health care technology industry.

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