June 06, 2013
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Switch to EHR increases length of time physicians spend on clinical examination

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Implementation of an electronic health record system in a glaucoma practice increased patient examination time but did not change patient perceptions, according to a study.

The study included 131 patients who sought treatment at a glaucoma practice and 273 patients whose office visits were timed.

Office activities were timed, and patients were surveyed 2 weeks before the transition to EHR, as well as at 2 weeks and 6 months after the transition.

On average, physicians spent 11 minutes with each patient before the transition, 12 minutes after the transition (P = .05)  and 14 minutes at 6 months (P = .02).

Physicians spent 5.1 minutes on clinical examination at baseline and 6.4 minutes at 6 months after the transition (P = .03).

Patient waiting time decreased somewhat, but patients’ perceptions of their visits and the EHR did not show any significant change. The transition to EHR did not affect patient volume, the authors said.