Report on how to improve EHRs for eye specialists

The American Academy of Ophthalmology has published a report with recommendations to improve electronic health record systems for eye specialists, Healthcare IT News reports. The report was developed by the academy’s Medical IT Committee and will be included in the August edition of the journal Ophthalmology Ophthalmologists have been slower to implement EHRs in part because most health IT systems were developed for primary care physicians, according to the report. For example, EHR systems can require physicians to record vital signs, such as height and weight that differ from the vital signs that eye specialists enter, such as intraocular pressure. The report notes that vendors that do design health IT tools specifically for ophthalmologists usually are small and might not have the resources to upgrade their products to help physicians demonstrate meaningful use. According to lead author Michael Chiang — from the Oregon Health & Science University’s departments of Ophthalmology & Medical Informatics and Clinical Epidemiology — the report includes a list of 17 “essential” and six “desirable” features that “define what will make [an EHR] system work efficiently within the unique workflow and data management needs of an ophthalmology practice.” These recommended EHR capabilities include:  Supporting the documentation of transitions between physician office and operating room;  Capturing, tracking and displaying “vital signs of the eye”; and  Incorporating hand sketches or comments into EHRs. The academy said EHR vendors will be asked to provide feedback on how their systems compare against the list of essential and desirable features detailed in the report.


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