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The impact of a computerized care records service (CRS) on doctors’ work patterns in urological outpatient clinics

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DOI: 10.4236/health.2011.311118    2,966 Downloads   5,398 Views   Citations

ABSTRACT

Objective: Government targets to reduce waiting times are putting enormous pressures on outpatient services. The implementation of an electronic care records service (CRS) at our hospital in 2008 has led to widespread press coverage of ensuing chaos in clinical administration. We wanted to know how this new electronic system impacted on our working patterns in outpatient clinics and – more specifically – on the time actually spent with the patients. Material & methods: This study was performed 4 and 12 months after implementation of CRS to assess its impact on the time distribution in clinic. Senior doctors were monitored with a stop clock during consultations. Timings for pre- and post-consultation administration, and the actual consultation with the patient were recorded. A total of 170 consultations were evaluated in this way. Results: The key findings were that the total time needed to spend on a urological outpatient of 16 minutes remains unchanged from the pre-CRS era, but a majority (57%) of this time is spent in administration on the computer without the patient involved. Conclusion: No more than 15 patients should be seen in a 4 hour outpatient clinic per doctor. This recommendation drawn up by BAUS before CRS remains still valid. Patient administration related to the consultation that has previously been done by administrative aides is now to be done by the doctors on the computer in the same consultation session. Intended to streamline patient pathways, this does reduce the quality interaction-time between doctor and patients significantly.

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Kachrilas, S. , Bach, C. , Kumar, P. , Zaman, F. , Dickens, N. , Masood, J. and Buchholz, N. (2011) The impact of a computerized care records service (CRS) on doctors’ work patterns in urological outpatient clinics. Health, 3, 703-707. doi: 10.4236/health.2011.311118.

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