Comparison of documentation time between an electronic and a paper-based record system by optometrists at an eye hospital in south India: A time-motion study

Syed Abdul Shabbir, Luai A. Ahmed, Rachapalle Reddi Sudhir, Jeremiah Scholl, Yu Chuan Li, Der Ming Liou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: The adoption of electronic medical record (EMR) system is gradually increasing. However, various time-motion studies reveal conflicting data regarding time effectiveness on workflow due to computerization. One of the major issues for physicians is their uncertainty with EMRs' potential impact of time on workflow. A tertiary eye hospital in south India was in the process of implementing an EMR system in their ambulatory care unit. Many of the staff did not have previous computing experience and there were conflicting views on the time effectiveness of the computerized system after implementation. The management was thus interested to know the real time effectiveness of EMR in their hospital. The study compliments existing studies of this type by comparing the time efficiency of documentation time using EMR system with paper documentation in a hospital in a developing country where a transition between paper and EMR documentation was currently in progress. Methods: Ten randomly selected optometrists documented the time they spent during consultation with both paper and EMR documentation. The time spent was documented for a total of 200 records (100 EMR and 100 paper records). The independent-samples t-test and analysis of variance were used to compare the means of the consultation time and calculated documentation time spent between the electronic and paper records. Results: There was no statistically significant difference in the time spent for documentation between electronic and paper records. The mean time spent in documenting electronic records was 0.92 min (95% CI -3.06 to 1.14) longer than in paper records. Conclusion: EMR systems can be adopted in eye hospitals without having significant negative impact on duration of consultation and documentation for optometrists. More time-motion studies that include ophthalmologists are however needed in order to get a more complete picture of time impact of the EMR system on clinical workflow in eye hospitals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)283-288
Number of pages6
JournalComputer Methods and Programs in Biomedicine
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Documentation time
  • Electronic medical records
  • India
  • Time effectiveness
  • Time-motion study

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Health Informatics
  • Computer Science Applications


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