Electronic health record (EHR) usability issues represent an emerging threat to the wellbeing of nurses and patients; however, few large studies have examined these relationships.
To examine associations between EHR usability and nurse job (burnout, job dissatisfaction, and intention to leave) and surgical patient (inpatient mortality and 30-day readmission) outcomes.
A cross-sectional analysis of linked American Hospital Association, state patient discharge, and nurse survey data was conducted. The sample included 343 hospitals, 1,281,848 surgical patients, and 12,004 nurses. Logistic regression models were used to assess relationships between EHR usability and outcomes, before and after accounting for EHR adoption level (comprehensive vs. basic or less) and other confounders.
In fully adjusted models, nurses who worked in hospitals with poorer EHR usability had significantly higher odds of burnout [odds ratio (OR), 1.41; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.21–1.64], job dissatisfaction (OR, 1.61; 95% CI, 1.37–1.90) and intention to leave (OR, 1.31; 95% CI, 1.09–1.58) compared with nurses working in hospitals with better usability. Surgical patients treated in hospitals with poorer EHR usability had significantly higher odds of inpatient mortality (OR, 1.21; 95% CI, 1.09–1.35) and 30-day readmission (OR, 1.06; 95% CI, 1.01–1.12) compared with patients in hospitals with better usability. Comprehensive EHR adoption was associated with higher odds of nurse burnout (OR, 1.14; 95% CI, 1.01–1.28).
Employing EHR systems with suboptimal usability was associated with higher odds of adverse nurse job outcomes and surgical patient mortality and readmission. EHR usability may be more important to nurse job and patient outcomes than comprehensive EHR adoption.