Clinician characteristics and use of novel electronic health record functionality in primary care

J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2011 Dec;18 Suppl 1(Suppl 1):i87-90. doi: 10.1136/amiajnl-2011-000330. Epub 2011 Sep 7.


Background: Conventional wisdom holds that older, busier clinicians who see complex patients are less likely to adopt and use novel electronic health record (EHR) functionality.

Methods: To compare the characteristics of clinicians who did and did not use novel EHR functionality, we conducted a retrospective analysis of the intervention arm of a randomized trial of new EHR-based tobacco treatment functionality.

Results: The novel functionality was used by 103 of 207 (50%) clinicians. Staff physicians were more likely than trainees to use the functionality (64% vs 37%; p<0.001). Clinicians who graduated more than 10 years previously were more likely to use the functionality than those who graduated less than 10 years previously (64% vs 42%; p<0.01). Clinicians with higher patient volumes were more likely to use the functionality (lowest quartile of number of patient visits, 25%; 2nd quartile, 38%; 3rd quartile, 65%; highest quartile, 71%; p<0.001). Clinicians who saw patients with more documented problems were more likely to use the functionality (lowest tertile of documented patient problems, 38%; 2nd tertile, 58%; highest tertile, 54%; p=0.04). In multivariable modeling, independent predictors of use were the number of patient visits (OR 1.2 per 100 additional patients; 95% CI 1.1 to 1.4) and number of documented problems (OR 2.9 per average additional problem; 95% CI 1.4 to 6.1).

Conclusions: Contrary to conventional wisdom, clinically busier physicians seeing patients with more documented problems were more likely to use novel EHR functionality.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Electronic Health Records / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Physicians, Primary Care*
  • Primary Health Care
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Smoking Cessation