Using an eye-tracking device, researchers from Springfield, Mass.-based Baystate Health and the College of Engineering at the University of Massachusetts Amherst found that physicians are very selective when it comes to reading progress notes in their electronic health records.
The study, published in Applied Clinical Informatics, analyzed reading rates, visual attention patterns and the sections of electronic notes most often read by 10 hospitalists.
What the researchers discovered was that the study participants "spent the most time in the 'Impression and Plan' section of electronic notes and read this section very slowly. Sections such as the 'Medication Profile', 'Vital Signs' and 'Laboratory Results' received less attention and were read very quickly even if they contained more content than the impression and plan."
They further concluded: "Optimizing the design of electronic notes may include rethinking the amount and format of imported patient data as this data appears to largely be ignored."