Background: Electronic medical records (EMRs) can be of great use in dermatological data recording. Unfortunately, not many studies have been carried out in this specific area. Aims: We attempt to evaluate the use of an EMR system in dermatology, comparing it with a conventional paper-based system. Methods: Two hundred patient records of patients attending the dermatology outpatient department were studied over a 3-month period. Half the reports were entered in the conventional paper-based format while the other half was entered in an EMR system. The time taken for each consultation was recorded and the same was carried out for the first subsequent follow-up visit. Results: The average time taken for the completion of the EMR-based consultation for new cases was 19.15 min (range, 10-30 min; standard deviation, 6.47). The paper-based consultation had an average time of 15.70 min (range, 5-25 min; standard deviation, 6.78). The P-value (T-test was used) was 0.002, which was significant. The average time taken for consultations and entering progress notes in the follow-up cases was slightly less than 10 min (9.7) for EMR while it was slightly more than 10 min (10.3) for the paper format. The difference was not statistically significant. The doctors involved also mentioned what they felt were the advantages and disadvantages of the system along with suggestions for improvement. Conclusion: The use of an EMR system in dermatology (or for that matter in any specialty) may overawe most users at the beginning, but once a comfort level is established, EMR is likely to outscore conventional paper recording systems. More time-motion-case studies are required to ascertain the optimal usage of EMR systems.
cited By (since 1996)5
Fab Kaliyadan, Venkitakrishnan, Sa, Manoj, Ja, and Dharmaratnam, Aa, “Electronic medical records in dermatology: Practical implications”, Indian Journal of Dermatology, Venereology and Leprology, vol. 75, pp. 157-161, 2009.