CHICAGO — The American Medical Association (AMA) announced today nine organizations selected as recipients of the 2023 Electronic Health Record Use Research Grant Program. This year’s grant recipients will divide $589,000 to fund research examining patterns of EHR use to inform solutions that prevent clinician burnout and turnover, enhance high-quality patient care, and improve workflows, teamwork, and resource allocation at the practice level.

“The EHR Use Research Grant Program allows the AMA to work with researchers who are leading efforts to expand insight into EHR systems and measure the technologies’ capacity to support or undermine the delivery of efficient and effective clinical work,” said AMA Vice President of Professional Satisfaction Christine Sinsky, M.D. “Burdensome EHR systems are a leading contributing factor in the physician burnout crisis and demand urgent action as outlined in the AMA’s Recovery Plan for America’s Physicians. The research supported by the AMA grant program builds the evidence base to help change EHR technology into an asset to medical care, and not a demoralizing burden.”

In 2023, the funded studies aim to provide insights into the relationships between EHR use and physician cognitive load, as well as the relationships between EHR use and team structures and care team processes. The nine organizations selected for research grants are:

  • AllianceChicago will use EHR event log data to explore both the prevalence and the facilitators of relational continuity among patients, physicians, and care teams in primary care.
  • Brigham and Women’s Hospital will investigate factors that influence the amount of time spent using an EHR and the impact of inbox messages on EHR burden, all in a primary care setting.
  • MedStar will study primary care physician EHR inbox prioritization.
  • Stanford University School of Medicine will use EHR event log data and other data to evaluate the frequency of text messaging in the inpatient setting; the relationships between team stability and inbox message frequency, and whether higher text message interruptions during order entry is associated with increased order entry errors.
  • University of California San Francisco will assess the impact of e-visit billing on clinician EHR inbox time, work on the EHR after patient scheduled hours and overall EHR burden.
  • University of Colorado School of Medicine will investigate whether inpatient EHR-based audit log data can serve as a useful tool in identifying when work design and workloads are leading to physician burnout and patient harm.
  • University of Wisconsin-Madison will use EHR event log data to investigate the association between team support for medication orders and physician time spent on order entry and time on inbox in primary care.
  • Wake Forest University School of Medicine will assess primary care physician time spent in the EHR during paid time off.
  • Yale University School of Medicine will expand on Yale’s previous research studying physician retention, clinical productivity, and patterns of EHR use in the emergency department.

Since its inception in 2019, the EHR Use Research Grant Program has awarded more than $2 million to fund 26 research studies across a variety of institutions and EHR-related topics. The AMA grant program helps this field of study continue to grow, opening deeper investigations as robust data becomes available, and allowing researchers to refine their methods for collecting and interpreting the data. The AMA recognizes the high value of this research and is proud to be an integral part of this movement.

The AMA continues to work on every front to address the physician burnout crisis. Through our research, collaborations, advocacy and leadership, the AMA is working to make the patient‐physician relationship more valued than paperwork, technology an asset and not a burden, and physician burnout a thing of the past.

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Robert J. Mills

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About the American Medical Association

The American Medical Association is the physicians’ powerful ally in patient care. As the only medical association that convenes 190+ state and specialty medical societies and other critical stakeholders, the AMA represents physicians with a unified voice to all key players in health care.  The AMA leverages its strength by removing the obstacles that interfere with patient care, leading the charge to prevent chronic disease and confront public health crises and, driving the future of medicine to tackle the biggest challenges in health care.