Objectives This article investigates the association between changes in electronic health record (EHR) use during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic on the rate of burnout, stress, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, and anxiety among physician trainees (residents and fellows). Methods A total of 222 (of 1,375, 16.2%) physician trainees from an academic medical center responded to a Web-based survey. We compared the physician trainees who reported that their EHR use increased versus those whose EHR use stayed the same or decreased on outcomes related to depression, anxiety, stress, PTSD, and burnout using univariable and multivariable models. We examined whether self-reported exposure to COVID-19 patients moderated these relationships. Results Physician trainees who reported increased use of EHR had higher burnout (adjusted mean, 1.48 [95% confidence interval [CI] 1.24, 1.71] vs. 1.05 [95% CI 0.93, 1.17]; p = 0.001) and were more likely to exhibit symptoms of PTSD (adjusted mean = 15.09 [95% CI 9.12, 21.05] vs. 9.36 [95% CI 7.38, 11.28]; p = 0.035). Physician trainees reporting increased EHR use outside of work were more likely to experience depression (adjusted mean, 8.37 [95% CI 5.68, 11.05] vs. 5.50 [95% CI 4.28, 6.72]; p = 0.035). Among physician trainees with increased EHR use, those exposed to COVID-19 patients had significantly higher burnout (2.04, p < 0.001) and depression scores (14.13, p = 0.003). Conclusion Increased EHR use was associated with higher burnout, depression, and PTSD outcomes among physician trainees. Although preliminary, these findings have implications for creating systemic changes to manage the wellness and well-being of trainees.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)507-517
Number of pages11
JournalApplied clinical informatics
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2021


  • COVID-19
  • burnout
  • depression
  • electronic health records
  • physician trainees


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