The effect of electronic health records adoption on patient visit volume at an academic ophthalmology departmentReport as inadecuate

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BMC Health Services Research

, 16:7

First Online: 13 January 2016Received: 29 October 2015Accepted: 30 December 2015DOI: 10.1186-s12913-015-1255-8

Cite this article as: Lam, J.G., Lee, B.S. & Chen, P.P. BMC Health Serv Res 2015 16: 7. doi:10.1186-s12913-015-1255-8


BackgroundElectronic health records EHRs have become a mandated part of delivering health care in the United States. The purpose of this study is to report patient volume before and after the transition to EHR in an academic outpatient ophthalmology practice.

MethodsReview of patient visits per half-day and number of support staff for established faculty ophthalmologists between July and October for five consecutive years beginning the year before EHR implementation.

ResultsEight physicians met inclusion criteria for the study. The number of patient visits was lower in each year after EHR adoption compared to baseline p ≤ 0.027. Patient volume per provider was reduced an average of 16.9 % over the 4 years range 15.3–18.5 %, and during the final year studied, no provider had returned to the pre-EHR number of patients per clinic session. Support staffing was unchanged p > 0.2.

ConclusionsAdoption of EHR was associated with a significantly reduced number of patient visits per clinic session in an academic setting in which support staffing remained stable. Maintaining clinic volume and access in similar settings may require use of additional staffing.

KeywordsOphthalmology Electronic health record Electronic medical record Health information technology Medical informatics Health care delivery Health law AbbreviationsEHRelectronic health record

HITHealth Information Technology

HITECHHealth Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health

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Author: Jocelyn G. Lam - Bryan S. Lee - Philip P. Chen


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