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    Why pediatric ophthalmologists don't go to late night parties

    The transition to electronic health records (computerized medical records to normal people) has been more or less mandated by governmental and private insurers. The time, cost, and effort involved in making the transition has led many physicians to fondly recall the use of paper charts in "the good old days."

    Yours truly is not among this cadre. Illegible handwriting, misplaced charts, the inability to immediately conjure up my patient's records simply with a few clicks on my smartphone (like I can now)—those are some of my memories of how life used to be in the era of paper charts. 

    But just like cataract surgery has evolved during my career from a three-day inpatient experience of extracapsular extraction to a 3-hour outpatient experience of phaco, we physicians and our practices will need to adapt to our new reality.

    According to a recent presentation at the American Academy of Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus, pediatric ophthalmologists spend an average of 10 minutes per patient documenting in their computers. Michael F. Chiang, MD, and colleagues found that a pediatric ophthalmologist who saw 2,500 patients over 1 year spent 10 minutes documenting per patient; 46% of that documentation time occurred during the visit with the patient present, 41% occurred during business hours after the patent had left, and 12% occurred on nights and weekends.1

    "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," Dr. Chiang said.

    What this explains

    Peter J. McDonnell, MD
    He is director of The Wilmer Eye Institute, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, and chief medical editor of ...

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