Does it sometimes feel as if your doctor is spending more time looking at the computer than engaging with you?

New American Medical Association research proves it is probably not in your head.


Nearly half of a doctor's day is now filled by typing patient information into electronic medical record systems or doing other administrative work, according to a study by the medical association and the Dartmouth-Hitchcock health care system.

So while electronic medical records are keeping better track of patient data, it is putting extra stress on the country's physicians.

The study results were published this week in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

"Clerical tasks and poorly-designed (electronic health records) have physicians suffering from a growing sense that they are neglecting their patients as they try to keep up with an overload of type-and-click tasks," Dr. Steven J. Stack,  immediate past president of the medical association, said in a statement.

During a typical workday, the study found physicians spent just 27 percent of their total time working directly with patients. They also spent one to two hours outside of the office on data entry.

Outside of office hours, physicians spend another one to two hours of personal time each night on data entry demands.

Many doctors are starting to feel burnt out, the study found.