Female physicians spend more minutes per day in the electronic health record (EHR) than their male counterparts, according to a research letter published online Dec. 7 in JAMA Internal Medicine.
Sarah D. Tait, from the Duke University School of Medicine in Durham, North Carolina, and colleagues examined the association between sex and EHR use and patient satisfaction using attending physician outpatient EHR use data from February 2018 to December 2019 at an academic medical center. Data were included from 997 physicians: 608 men and 389 women (61 and 39 percent).
The researchers found that compared with their male counterparts, female physicians tended to spend more time on all EHR time metrics, including total minutes in the system per day (102.2 versus 68.8 minutes), minutes outside of 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. (24.4 versus 15.2), minutes outside of scheduled hours (34.6 versus 23.8), and minutes on unscheduled days (40.6 versus 27.2). After stratification by surgical and medical specialties, these differences remained significant. There were no sex-specific differences noted in patient satisfaction scores or efficiency measures.
“While these findings indicate a clear sex disparity in EHR time burden, the optimal amount of EHR time investment remains unknown,” the authors write. “Health systems should prioritize investment in time-saving interventions, such as increased staff support or EHR efficiency training, to diminish EHR burden for all physicians, thus mitigating sex disparities.”