Organizational complements to electronic health records in ambulatory physician performance: The role of support staff

University of Michigan, School of Information, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109, USA.
Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association (Impact Factor: 3.5). 04/2012; 19(4):537-40. DOI: 10.1136/amiajnl-2011-000759
Source: PubMed


In industries outside healthcare, highly skilled employees enable substantial gains in productivity after adoption of information technologies. The authors explore whether the presence of highly skilled, autonomous clinical support staff is associated with higher performance among physicians with electronic health records (EHRs). Using data from a survey of general internists, the authors assessed whether physicians with EHRs were more likely to be top performers on cost and quality if they worked with nurse practitioners or physician assistants. It was found that, among physicians with EHRs, those with highly skilled, autonomous staff were far more likely to be top performing than those without such staff (OR 7.0, 95% CI 1.7 to 34.8, p=0.02). This relationship did not hold among physicians without EHRs (OR 1.0). As we begin a national push towards greater EHR adoption, it is critical to understand why some physicians gain from EHR use and others do not.

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    • "EHR studies between 1995 and 2005 are generally categorized into four topics: the presence of an EHR, EHR adoption, EHR functionalities, and EHR disparities (8). Since then, new EHR challenges have been discussed with a focus on workflow, interoperability, communication (9), the educational use of an EHR, (10–13) and organizational support and quality (14, 15). However, little attention has been given to the topic of physicians’ EHR usage regarding the aspects of writing and reading EHR-generated documentation. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background: Electronic health records (EHRs) are structured, distributed documentation systems that differ from paper charts. These systems require skills not traditionally used to navigate a paper chart and to produce a written clinic note. Despite these differences, little attention has been given to physicians' electronic health record (EHR)-writing and -reading competence. Purposes: This study aims to investigate physicians' self-assessed competence to document and to read EHR notes; writing and reading preferences in an EHR; and demographic characteristics associated with their perceived EHR ability and preference. Methods: Fourteen 5-point Likert scale items, based on EHR system characteristics and a literature review, were developed to measure EHR-writing and -reading competence and preference. Physicians in the midwest region of the United States were invited via e-mail to complete the survey online from February to April 2011. Factor analysis and reliability testing were conducted to provide validity and reliability of the instrument. Correlation and regression analysis were conducted to pursue answers to the research questions. Results: Ninety-one physicians (12.5%), from general and specialty fields, working in inpatient and outpatient settings, participated in the survey. Despite over 3 years of EHR experience, respondents perceived themselves to be incompetent in EHR writing and reading (Mean = 2.74, SD = 0.76). They preferred to read succinct, narrative notes in EHR systems. However, physicians with higher perceived EHR-writing and -reading competence had less preference toward reading succinct (r= - 0.33, p<0.001) and narrative (r= - 0.36, p<0.001) EHR notes than physicians with lower perceived EHR competence. Physicians' perceived EHR-writing and -reading competence was strongly related to their EHR navigation skills (r=0.55, p<0.0001). Conclusions: Writing and reading EHR documentation is different for physicians. Maximizing navigation skills can optimize non-linear EHR writing and reading. Pedagogical questions remain related to how physicians and medical students are able to retrieve correct information effectively and to understand thought patterns in collectively lengthier and sometimes fragmented EHR chart notes.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2013 · Medical Education Online
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