AMIA Survey: Clinicians Not Seeing Improvement in EHR Documentation Burden

June 4, 2024
Findings from the survey, part of the AMIA 25x5 Initiative, reveal significant concerns regarding documentation time and effort

In a  recent American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA) national survey, 77.42% of respondents reported finishing work later than desired or needing to work at home due to excessive EHR documentation tasks.

The first AMIA TrendBurden survey, part of an effort to capture perceptions of EHR documentation burden through biannual assessments, ran from April 10-30, 2024, and received 1,253 responses from healthcare professionals across 49 states and the District of Columbia. The respondents included 35.67% physicians/surgeons, 24.72% registered nurses, 13.65% other professionals, 8.38% educators, and 5.83% licensed social workers. 

These professionals worked in various settings: 31.76% in outpatient clinics, 30.17% in inpatient/hospital settings, 21.47% in academic medical centers, 21.15% in community-based organizations, and 9.58% in telemedicine/telehealth. 

Key findings from the survey, part of the AMIA 25x5 Initiative, reveal significant concerns regarding documentation time and effort and highlight the significant negative impact excessive documentation burden has on work-life integration among healthcare professionals. "The time and effort required by healthcare professionals for documentation is severely impacting their work-life integration," said Vicky Tiase, Ph.D., R.N.-B.C., in a statement. "Addressing this issue is essential to support the well-being of our clinicians and ensure they can continue to provide high-quality patient care."

When asked about recent changes in documentation burden, most respondents (66.64%) disagreed that there had been a recent decrease in the time or effort needed to complete documentation tasks, with physicians (74.2%) reporting this more than nurses (60.8%). The perceived impact of documentation on patient care is notable, with 74.38% of respondents agreeing that the time required for documentation impedes patient care.

Most respondents noted that the EHR is difficult to use. Only 31.76% of all respondents (21.9% physicians, 38% nurses) agree or strongly agree that documenting patient care using electronic health records is easy. Reacting to the ease of use of the EHR, only 31.76% of all respondents agreed or strongly agreed that they found it easy to use, including 21.9% of physicians and 38% of nurses. Additionally, 23.62% of respondents were neutral, neither agreeing nor disagreeing, with 21.3% of physicians and 23.5% of nurses in this category. A significant 44.61% disagreed or strongly disagreed, indicating difficulties with system usability, with 56.9% of physicians and 38.5% of nurses expressing dissatisfaction.

“The TrendBurden results illuminate the pervasive challenge of excessive documentation burden faced by healthcare professionals across the nation,” said Sarah Rossetti, R.N., Ph.D., AMIA 25x5 Task Force Chair, in a statement. “These results emphasize the urgent need for actionable solutions to alleviate this strain on healthcare professionals prioritizing both high-quality patient care and the well-being of those who provide it.”

The TrendBurden Survey will be administered again in early fall 2024, seeking to broaden its reach even further in the health professional community.

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