TUESDAY, June 25, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Changing electronic health record (EHR) systems may cause longer operation times for eye surgeries, according to a study published online June 20 in JAMA Ophthalmology.

Shawn Gulati, M.D., M.P.H., of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and Michael V. Boland, M.D., Ph.D., of the Wilmer Eye Institute at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, both in Baltimore, gathered data from surgeries performed by board-certified ophthalmologists between July 2015 and November 2016 at two ambulatory surgical centers and one hospital outpatient department within the same academic eye institute. Operation times were gathered from two EHR systems and were divided into three categories of 50 days each (immediate posttransition, intermediate posttransition, and late posttransition).

The researchers found that of 11,064 surgeries performed by 76 surgeons, the mean total operating room time was 2.9 minutes longer in the first 50 days (immediate posttransition group) and 1.2 minutes longer in the second 50 days (intermediate posttransition group) after changing EHR systems compared with surgeries performed before the system replacement. The investigators also found that cataract surgeries performed at hospital outpatient departments had an average of 15.9 more minutes of operating time and a 5.1-minute longer turnaround than those performed by comparable surgeons at ambulatory surgical centers.

“Given that switching to a new EHR system temporarily decreased operating room efficiency at the facilities, other institutions should consider if expected benefits (e.g., possible improved documentation, reporting, billing, user satisfaction, etc.) of deploying a new EHR system outweigh the costs,” the authors write.

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