Although there has been ample research into the use of EHR and its impacts on patient care, there remains no clear understanding of the time that physicians spend using EHR. But researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison have a plan to change that. They hope to differentiate time spent working on EHR during time scheduled with patients from time spent on EHR outside of scheduled patient time.

Writing in the Journal of the American Academy of Family Physicians, the team proposes new, standardized approaches for measuring active EHR use.  Their classification of any time spent on EHR before or after patient encounters as “after hours” seeks to better quantify Work Outside of Work or WOW.The researchers suggest that attributing all EHR work outside time scheduled with patients to WOW will produce an objective and standardized measure of time spent on EHR, which they say is necessary to support efforts to reduce burnout, set policy, and facilitate research.