Electronic health record note review in an outpatient specialty clinic: who is looking?

Picture of Jimmy S Chen
Jimmy S Chen
Picture of Michelle R Hribar
Michelle R Hribar
Picture of Isaac H Goldstein
Isaac H Goldstein
Picture of Wei-Chun Lin
Wei-Chun Lin
Picture of Haley Dusek
Haley Dusek
Picture of Michael F Chiang
Michael F Chiang
Published at JAMIA Open 2021
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Note entry and review in electronic health records (EHRs) are time-consuming. While some clinics have adopted team-based models of note entry, how these models have impacted note review is unknown in outpatient specialty clinics such as ophthalmology. We hypothesized that ophthalmologists and ancillary staff review very few notes. Using audit log data from 9775 follow-up office visits in an academic ophthalmology clinic, we found ophthalmologists reviewed a median of 1 note per visit (2.6 ± 5.3% of available notes), while ancillary staff reviewed a median of 2 notes per visit (4.1 ± 6.2% of available notes). While prior ophthalmic office visit notes were the most frequently reviewed note type, ophthalmologists and staff reviewed no such notes in 51% and 31% of visits, respectively. These results highlight the collaborative nature of note review and raise concerns about how cumbersome EHR designs affect efficient note review and the utility of prior notes in ophthalmic clinical care.