Researchers use EHR timestamps to map clinical workflow

A research team from Portland-based Oregon Health & Science University published findings in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association suggesting EHR data is a useful tool for clinical workflow analysis.

For the study, the researchers observed physicians' workflows and analyzed timestamped data from EHRs at four outpatient ophthalmology clinics at OHSU. The researchers mapped their observations alongside the EHR data to determine whether these timestamps could effectively be used to predict ophthalmologists' workflows.

The researchers determined EHR timestamps produced times within three minutes of the observed times for more than 80 percent of ophthalmology appointments.

"EHR timestamps provided a reasonable approximation of workflow and can be used for workflow studies," the study authors wrote, suggesting future researchers use this type of data to create simulation models, analyze EHR use and quantify the impact of trainees on workflow.

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