Four Tips to Improve Your Relationship With Health IT

Of all the factors that contribute to physician burnout, the time and effort dedicated to health information technology (IT) are two of the most problematic. Interactions with electronic health records (EHRs) are woven into every workday and patient visit. What’s a tech-weary family physician to do?

That’s the question family physician John W. Beasley, MD, is determined to answer. Beasley recently retired as coordinator of the I-PrACTISE (Improving PrimAry Care Through Industrial and Systems Engineering) educational and research collaborative at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, where his research focused on the relationship between primary care, EHRs, and patient safety.

“We had all hoped that the EHR would give us a way to manage the increasing complexity [of primary care],” says Beasley. “Overall, studies show it hasn’t done that.” Instead, EHRs often increase the amount of time physicians spend on clerical tasks—especially after hours and on weekends—and can disrupt communication and interaction in the exam room.

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