Pediatric ophthalmologists spend 10 minutes per patient doing EHR documentation

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EHRs are having a negative effect on the efficiency of pediatric ophthalmologists, according to a study presented at the American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus meeting.

These clinicians spend an average of 10 minutes per patient on EHR documentation, according to the findings from Michael F. Chiang, MD, and his colleagues at Oregon Health and Science University.

As reported by Healio, Chiang et al. conducted a two-part study to determine how ophthalmologists spend time in-room with patients and how much time is required for documenting in the EHR.

“There’s been a lot of anecdotal and some published evidence showing that there may be a negative impact of EHRs on efficiency by ophthalmologists,” Chiang said during his talk.

Using trained observers with iPads to document five ophthalmologists’ time examining, documenting or talking to patients, Chiang and colleagues found the pediatric ophthalmologist spent on average 13 minutes with the patient. Of that 13 minutes, 27 percent of the time was spent documenting in the EHR, 45 percent of the time was spent examining and 29 percent was spent talking. In general, this pattern of almost 30 percent of in-room time spent documenting was similar among the other four ophthalmic subspecialties observed: general, cornea, glaucoma and retina.

Regarding total documentation time, Chiang and colleagues used an EHR timestamp analysis that tracked mouse clicks to map workflow and identify timing of key events. The pediatric ophthalmologist who saw 2,500 patients over 1 year, spent 10 minutes of documentation time per patient. Of that 10 minutes, 46 percent of the documentation time occurred during the visit when the patient was in the office, 41 percent occurred during business hours after the patient had left the office, and 12 percent occurred on nights and weekends, Chiang said.

“How much is 10 minutes per patient? If you saw 30 patients per day, then it’s 5 hours per day pointing and clicking at the EHR,” Chiang said.