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Am J Manag Care. 2011 Apr;17(4):296-303.

Electronic medical records and efficiency and productivity during office visits.

Author information

  • Department of Information Systems, W. P. Carey School of Business, Arizona State University, Tempe, 85287, USA. michael.furukawa@asu.edu

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To estimate the relationship between electronic medical record (EMR) use and efficiency of utilization and provider productivity during visits to US office-based physicians.

STUDY DESIGN:

Cross-sectional analysis of the 2006-2007 National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey.

METHODS:

The sample included 62,710 patient visits to 2625 physicians. EMR systems included demographics, clinical notes, prescription orders, and laboratory and imaging results. Efficiency was measured as utilization of examinations, laboratory tests, radiology procedures, health education, nonmedication treatments, and medications. Productivity was measured as total services provided per 20-minute period. Survey-weighted regressions estimated association of EMR use with services provided, visit intensity/duration, and productivity. Marginal effects were estimated by averaging across all visits and by major reason for visit.

RESULTS:

EMR use was associated with higher probability of any examination (7.7%, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 2.4%, 13.1%); any laboratory test (5.7%, 95% CI = 2.6%, 8.8%); any health education (4.9%, 95% CI = 0.2%, 9.6%); and fewer laboratory tests (-7.1%, 95% CI = -14.2%, -0.1%). During pre/post surgery visits, EMR use was associated with 7.3% (95% CI= -12.9%, -1.8%) fewer radiology procedures. EMR use was not associated with utilization of nonmedication treatments and medications, or visit duration. During routine visits for a chronic problem, EMR use was associated with 11.2% (95% CI = 5.7%, 16.8%) more diagnostic/screening services provided per 20-minute period.

CONCLUSIONS:

EMR use had a mixed association with efficiency and productivity during office visits. EMRs may improve provider productivity, especially during visits for a new problem and routine chronic care.

PMID:
21615200
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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