What to look for in eye-specific electronic health records systems

August 15, 2011

Ophthalmologists have unique needs when shopping for electronic health record systems.

San Francisco-Ophthalmologists have unique needs when shopping for electronic health record (EHR) systems, and they should look for systems that can speak a common language to maintain or increase their efficiency, according to a newly released report.

A list includes 17 "essential" and six "desirable" features in the areas of clinical documentation, ophthalmic vital signs and laboratory studies, medical and surgical management, and ophthalmic measurement and imaging devices. It is the hope of the committee that ophthalmologists will use the list to judge the best EHR system for their needs. It also calls on vendors to recognize those differences and design appropriate EHR systems.

"It's been our experience, as a committee, that many of the existing EHRs out there often don't do a completely adequate job," said Michael F. Chiang, MD, from the Departments of Ophthalmology & Medical Informatics and Clinical Epidemiology at Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, and the committee's chairman.

"There's a natural tendency to blame the vendors and say, 'Why can't they build a better product?' "But it's my belief that that oversimplifies things," he said. "It's also up to us as users to tell them what we need and, to the extent that we don't do that, there's a communication gap."