AMIA survey: Documentation burden is impacting patient care


The American Medical Informatics Association this week published the results of a new report it hopes will help move the needle on the widespread problem of excessive clinical documentation burden.

The TrendBurden Pulse Survey from AMIA’s 25×5 Task Force was designed to collect data and insights on how clinicians are experiencing documentation burden and charting within electronic health record workflows.

This April, AMIA received more than 1,250 responses from healthcare professionals – physicians/surgeons (36%), registered nurses (25%), licensed social workers, educators and others – across 49 states and the District of Columbia.

They worked in outpatient clinics (32%), hospital settings (30%), academic medical centers (21%), community-based organizations, telehealth and more.

The survey shows “significant concerns regarding documentation time and effort,” according to the report.

More than 77% of respondents, for example, said they regularly worked later than desired or needed to work at home due to excessive documentation tasks.

And most of those polled don’t see the problem getting any better:

  • Two in three survey-takers (67%) disagreed that there had been any recent decrease in the time or effort needed to complete documentation tasks.

  • Physicians (74%) were more likely than nurses (60.8%) to say this.

  • Across all respondents, nearly 75% of respondents said “the time required for documentation impedes patient care,” says AMIA.

With regard to electronic health records specifically, most respondents still say EHRs are difficult to use, nearly 15 years since they became near-ubiquitous in healthcare.

Fewer than 32% of all respondents (21.9% physicians, 38% nurses) “agree or strongly agree” that documenting patient care with EHRs is easy. Similar numbers felt the same way about user experience. Meanwhile, 57% of docs and 39% of nurses expressed dissatisfaction with their EHR systems.

The TrendBurden Survey will be administered again in early fall 2024, said AMIA, with plans to be a twice-yearly assessment of healthcare professionals’ perceptions.

The goal is to help guide policymakers and healthcare stakeholders in crafting strategies to reduce documentation burden, officials say, and work toward a healthcare environment that supports top-quality patient care while preserving the wellbeing of healthcare professionals.

Clinical documentation burden has long been a challenge for healthcare providers, of course, and the addition of virtual care into the mix has only exacerbated the problem. Too much “pajama time” – late-night charting in the EHR – on top of the day-to-day rigors of patient care, is causing clinician burnout.

Many health systems are making use of NLP-enabled copilots, generative AI and ambient scribes to help with the burden – but more must be done to lighten the load.

One recent report from the KLAS Arch Collaborative offered some perspective and tips for reducing unproductive charting.

“The time and effort required by healthcare professionals for documentation is severely impacting their work-life integration,” said Vicky Tiase, RN-BC, policy lead on the 25×5 Task Force. “Addressing this issue is essential to support the well-being of our clinicians and ensure they can continue to provide high-quality patient care.”

“The TrendBurden results illuminate the pervasive challenge of excessive documentation burden faced by healthcare professionals across the nation,” said Sarah Rossetti, RN, the 25×5 Task Force chair. “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.”

Mike Miliard is executive editor of Healthcare IT News
Email the writer: [email protected]
Healthcare IT News is a HIMSS publication.


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