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EHRs: Benefits & Burnout

Electronic health records have a utilitarian benefit for practice managers but may also worsen the interaction between patients and their caregivers, a presenter said at the Annual Dialysis Conference.

“Electronic health records represent a certain trade off that we have to become comfortable with,” Robert P. Pauly, MD,from the University of Alberta, said in a keynote presentation.

EHRs can reduce costs, increase revenue, improve storage management, aid in providing disease management, and assist in patient empowerment, learning and decision making. However, EHRs also increase physician workload, can negatively impact clinical interaction and can add to burnout, Pauly said.

He referenced a two-part study showing physicians spend 5.9 hours a day using EHRs, 4.5 of which were during the workday, and 1.4 after. Overall, this adds up to about 30 hours per month using EHRs. While others might consider this unpaid overtime, Pauly called time spent outside of work on EHRs “pajama time.”

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