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AMA Distributes Grants to Study EHR Use

Analysis  |  By Eric Wicklund  
   June 21, 2023

The organization is issuing almost $590,000 to nine healthcare organizations who will study how EHRs can be used to reduce stress and burnout, improve workflows, and boost value-based care.

Nine healthcare organizations have been tagged by the American Medical Association to study how EHRs can be used better.

The organizations will receive grants from the AMA's Electronic Health Record Use Research Grant Program, which supports research into how EHRs can help "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,” AMA Vice President of Professional Satisfaction Christine Sinsky, MD, said in a press release.

More than $2 million has been doled out by the AMA since 2019 to support 26 studies aimed at giving the often-criticized EHR a better reputation and highlighting capabilities and advancements that have made the technology more beneficial.

That research is particularly important now, as healthcare organizations are struggling with high rates of burnout and stress and dwindling workforces and need their technology platforms to step up. Backed by the emergence of AI, health systems are hoping that EHRs can be used to not only improve workflows, but also reduce expenses and boost clinical outcomes.

“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," Sinsky said in the press release. "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.”

The organizations receiving funding from the $589,000 grant program are:

  • AllianceChicago, which plans to 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, which 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, which will study primary care physician EHR inbox prioritization.
  • The Stanford University School of Medicine, which will use EHR event log data and other information to evaluate the frequency of text messaging in the inpatient setting and the relationships between team stability and inbox message frequency, as well as whether higher text message interruptions during order entry is associated with increased order entry errors.
  • The University of California San Francisco, which will study the impact of e-visit billing on clinician EHR inbox time, work on the EHR after patient scheduled hours and overall EHR burden.
  • The University of Colorado School of Medicine, which 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.
  • The University of Wisconsin-Madison, which will use EHR event log data to study any links between team support for medication orders and physician time spent on order entry and time on inbox in primary care.
  • The Wake Forest University School of Medicine, which will analyze time spent in the EHR by primary care physicians during paid time off.
  • The Yale University School of Medicine, which will expand on previous research into physician retention, clinical productivity, and patterns of EHR use in the emergency department.

Eric Wicklund is the associate content manager and senior editor for Innovation, Technology, and Pharma for HealthLeaders.


The American Medical Association's Electronic Health Record Use Research Grant Program, launched in 2019, aims to study how health systems can use the technology better.

The effort is especially significant this year, as health systems need their EHR platforms to help address high rates of stress and burnout and declining workforces.

Nine organizations are receiving funding to launch studies that will focus on using EHRs and data to address specific pain points.

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