The field of ophthalmology has a number of unique features compared with other medical and surgical specialties regarding clinical workflow and data management. This has important implications for the design of electronic health record (EHR) systems that can be used intuitively and efficiently by ophthalmologists and that can promote improved quality of care. Ophthalmologists often lament the absence of these specialty-specific features in EHRs, particularly in systems that were developed originally for primary care physicians or other medical specialists. The purpose of this article is to summarize the special requirements of EHRs that are important for ophthalmology. The hope is that this will help ophthalmologists to identify important features when searching for EHR systems, to stimulate vendors to recognize and incorporate these functions into systems, and to assist federal agencies to develop future guidelines regarding meaningful use of EHRs. More broadly, the American Academy of Ophthalmology believes that these functions are elements of good system design that will improve access to relevant information at the point of care between the ophthalmologist and the patient, will enhance timely communications between primary care providers and ophthalmologists, will mitigate risk, and ultimately will improve the ability of physicians to deliver the highest-quality medical care. Financial Disclosure(s): Proprietary or commercial interest disclosure may be found after the references.
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