Prominent journalists including the late Pulitzer Prize-winner Charles Krauthammer, have written that doctors are leaving the practice of medicine because adopting and using electronic health records (EHRs) is frustrating and debilitating.
Not so, according to new research from the University of Notre Dame, which shows that basic EHRs actually have increased doctors’ tenure at hospitals, whereas advanced EHRs caused doctors to shift to other hospitals. The study found no evidence of retirements as a result of implementation.
The researchers used information on the mobility of physicians from the Hospital Inpatient Dataset provided by the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA), which provides detailed accounts of each patient admitted to Florida hospitals in addition to information on where physicians have been treating patients during the course of the sample.
Data regarding EHR implementation were retrieved from HIMSS Analytics, a nationwide survey of healthcare delivery organizations, granting access to information regarding hospital level adoption of EHR systems at the module level, as well as organizational characteristics such as for-profit status, teaching, specialties, vendor information and size, at the year level. When combined, the data offer information regarding physician employment and EHR implementation at the physician-hospital-year level between 2000 and 2010.
Advanced EHRs, which utilize Computerized Physician Order Entry or Physician Documentation, are known to be more disruptive to doctors’ routines.
Basic EHRs, on the other hand, are more automated but also have been in use longer so doctors are more comfortable with them.