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Electronic health record use has varying effects on productivity depending on medical specialty, according to a University of California-Davis study.

The study — led by Hemant Bhargava, associate dean and professor of management and computer science at the UC-Davis Graduate School of Management — monitored the implementation of an EHR system in six primary care practices from 2003 to 2006.

Data were collected on about 100 physicians in three primary care categories: internal medicine; family; and pediatrics. Researchers found that an EHR system’s impact on physician productivity varied by specialty after health care providers became fully acclimated to the systems. According to the study, initial implementation of an EHR system resulted in a productivity drop of 25% to 33%, which researchers expected. However, in the months that followed, internal medicine units saw an improvement in workflow, but paediatricians and family physicians experienced slight drops in productivity. Bhargava said a “one-size-fits-all” approach does not work with EHR systems. Bhargava said the findings can be more easily understood by placing EHR technology into two categories — information review and information entry.

Use of EHR systems enables more efficient review of data such as patient history, notes and charts, which tends to benefit internal medicine physicians, who generally see a greater proportion of ill patients. However, paediatricians’ work often involves more data entry and documentation, which can be more time-consuming when using EHR systems.

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Source: UC Davis Study Finds E-medical Records Have Varying Effects on Productivity.

Date: December 16, 2010

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010 at 1:50 pm and is filed under Longwoods Online.