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J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2011 Dec;18 Suppl 1:i87-90. doi: 10.1136/amiajnl-2011-000330. Epub 2011 Sep 7.

Clinician characteristics and use of novel electronic health record functionality in primary care.

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  • 1Division of General Medicine and Primary Care, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts 02120, USA.



Conventional wisdom holds that older, busier clinicians who see complex patients are less likely to adopt and use novel electronic health record (EHR) functionality.


To compare the characteristics of clinicians who did and did not use novel EHR functionality, we conducted a retrospective analysis of the intervention arm of a randomized trial of new EHR-based tobacco treatment functionality.


The novel functionality was used by 103 of 207 (50%) clinicians. Staff physicians were more likely than trainees to use the functionality (64% vs 37%; p<0.001). Clinicians who graduated more than 10 years previously were more likely to use the functionality than those who graduated less than 10 years previously (64% vs 42%; p<0.01). Clinicians with higher patient volumes were more likely to use the functionality (lowest quartile of number of patient visits, 25%; 2nd quartile, 38%; 3rd quartile, 65%; highest quartile, 71%; p<0.001). Clinicians who saw patients with more documented problems were more likely to use the functionality (lowest tertile of documented patient problems, 38%; 2nd tertile, 58%; highest tertile, 54%; p=0.04). In multivariable modeling, independent predictors of use were the number of patient visits (OR 1.2 per 100 additional patients; 95% CI 1.1 to 1.4) and number of documented problems (OR 2.9 per average additional problem; 95% CI 1.4 to 6.1).


Contrary to conventional wisdom, clinically busier physicians seeing patients with more documented problems were more likely to use novel EHR functionality.

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