The Impact of Telemedicine on Physicians' After-hours Electronic Health Record “Work Outside Work” During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Retrospective Cohort Study

Katharine Lawrence, Oded Nov, Devin Mann, Soumik Mandal, Eduardo Iturrate, Batia Wiesenfeld

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Telemedicine as a mode of health care work has grown dramatically during the COVID-19 pandemic; the impact of this transition on clinicians' after-hours electronic health record (EHR)-based clinical and administrative work is unclear. Objective: This study assesses the impact of the transition to telemedicine during the COVID-19 pandemic on physicians' EHR-based after-hours workload (ie, “work outside work”) at a large academic medical center in New York City. Methods: We conducted an EHR-based retrospective cohort study of ambulatory care physicians providing telemedicine services before the pandemic, during the acute pandemic, and after the acute pandemic, relating EHR-based after-hours work to telemedicine intensity (ie, percentage of care provided via telemedicine) and clinical load (ie, patient load per provider). Results: A total of 2129 physicians were included in this study. During the acute pandemic, the volume of care provided via telemedicine significantly increased for all physicians, whereas patient volume decreased. When normalized by clinical load (ie, average appointments per day by average clinical days per week), telemedicine intensity was positively associated with work outside work across time periods. This association was strongest after the acute pandemic. Conclusions: Taking physicians' clinical load into account, physicians who devoted a higher proportion of their clinical time to telemedicine throughout various stages of the pandemic engaged in higher levels of EHR-based after-hours work compared to those who used telemedicine less intensively. This suggests that telemedicine, as currently delivered, may be less efficient than in-person-based care and may increase the after-hours work burden of physicians.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere34826
JournalJMIR Medical Informatics
Volume10
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 2022

Keywords

  • clinician workload
  • cohort
  • COVID-19
  • doctor
  • efficient
  • eHealth
  • EHR
  • electronic health record
  • health care professional
  • impact
  • pandemic
  • physician
  • retrospective
  • telehealth
  • telemedicine
  • transition
  • workload

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Informatics
  • Health Information Management

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