Primary care doctors spend more than 50% of workday on EHR tasks, American Medical Association study finds

Primary care physicians spend more than half of their workday interacting with electronic health records, a new study found.

Those doctors are spending almost six hours on EHRs, both during and after clinic hours, according to research from the American Medical Association and the University of Wisconsin, which was published in Annals of Family Medicine.

During a typical 11.4-hour workday, primary care doctors spend 4.5 hours on EHR tasks while in the office and an additional 1.4 hours per day outside of clinic hours, in the early morning or after 6 p.m., including 51 minutes on the weekend.

“This study reveals what many primary care physicians already know—data entry tasks associated with EHR systems are significantly cutting into available time for physicians to engage with patients,” David O. Barbe, M.D., the AMA’s president, said in an announcement. “Poorly designed and implemented EHRs have physicians suffering from a growing sense that they are neglecting their patients and working more outside of clinic hours as they try to keep up with an overload of type-and-click tasks.”

RELATED: Study—EHRs bloat clerical workload for docs

Those clerical and administrative tasks associated with EHRs are among the causes of rising rates of physician burnout. The study said the number of hours physicians spend daily on EHR systems contributes to work-life imbalance, dissatisfaction, high rates of attrition and burnout rates exceeding 50%.

RELATED: EHRs, hectic work environment drive family doctors' burnout

An AMA study released last year found that for every hour physicians spend in exam room visits with patients, they spend nearly two hours on EHR and desk work during office hours.