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Social determinants of health and after-hours electronic health record documentation: A national survey of US physicians

Y.R. Hong, K. Turner, O.T. Nguyen, A. Alishahi Tabriz, L. Revere
Popul Health Manag

Identifying patients' social determinants of health (SDoH) can improve patient outcomes but may increase clinicians' documentation time. However, there is limited evidence of how many physicians document SDoH and the associated burden. To address this gap, this study examines documentation of SDoH and after-hours electronic health record (EHR) work among a nationally representative sample of US office-based physicians. This was a cross-sectional analysis of the 2018–2019 National Electronic Health Records Survey. A survey design-adjusted bivariate analysis was used to estimate the prevalence of SDoH documentation and compare this activity between physicians' and practices' characteristics. A modified multivariable Poisson model was used to estimate prevalence ratios of SDoH documentation and after-hours work. The study sample included a weighted sample of 303,389 US physicians (31.5%, female; 72.5%, aged ≥50 years; 48.8% primary care specialty). Of those, 84.3% reported documenting patients' SDoH information. Physicians documenting patients' SDoH tend to be younger (<50 years). Prevalence estimates of after-hours EHR documentation were comparable between physicians recording patients' SDoH and those not (33.7% vs. 33.0%) and this difference did not reach statistical significance in adjusted analysis (adjusted prevalence ratio, 0.94, 95% confidence interval, 0.64–1.39). Thus, documenting patients' SDoH appears to be common among US physicians, and this activity is not associated with after-hours EHR documentation. Future studies should examine how patients' SDoH information is used and its association with patient health outcomes.

Hong YR, Turner K, Nguyen OT, Alishahi Tabriz A, Revere L. Social determinants of health and after-hours electronic health record documentation: a national survey of US physicians. Popul Health Manag. 2021 Oct 11. doi: 10.1089/pop.2021.0212. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 34637635.

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Peer Reviewed Research
Health Care Professionals
Social Determinant of Health
Not Specified
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Other Study Design