Study: EHR use by pediatric opthalmologists may hamper efficiency

Pediatric ophthalmologists are not immune from having to spend a large amount of time on electronic health records, which can adversely impact their efficiency, according to a new article in Helio.com.

The article reports on a two-part study conducted at Oregon Health and Science University to determine how ophthalmologists spend time with patients and how much time is required for documenting in the EHR. In the first part of the study, trained observers with iPads recorded how time was spent with a patient during an office visit. The pediatric ophthalmologists spent an average of 13 minutes with a patient; of that time, more than a quarter (27 percent) was spent documenting into the EHR.

The second part of the study was to determine total documentation time, using an EHR timestamp analysis that tracked mouse clicks to map workflow and the timing of events. The researchers found that a pediatric ophthalmologist who saw 2,500 patients in a year spent 10 minutes of documentation time per patient. Of that time, 46 percent occurred during the patient visit, 41 percent occurred during business hours after the patient had left and 12 percent at night or on weekends. The researchers surmised that if the physician saw 30 patients a day, he or she was spending five hours a day on the EHR.

This amount of time is similar to that found in a recent study of medical interns.

The researchers said that the impact on patient care was "unclear" but that EHR design should be improved.

The study was presented at a meeting of the American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus in Vancouver earlier this month.  

To learn more:
- read the article

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