Comparison of clinical note quality between an automated digital intake tool and the standard note in the emergency department

Ron Eshel, Fernanda Bellolio, Andy Boggust, Nathan I. Shapiro, Aidan F. Mullan, Heather A. Heaton, Bo E. Madsen, James L. Homme, Benjamin W. Iliff, Kharmene L. Sunga, Cameron R. Wangsgard, Derek Vanmeter, Daniel Cabrera

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Medical encounters require an efficient and focused history of present illness (HPI) to create differential diagnoses and guide diagnostic testing and treatment. Our aim was to compare the HPI of notes created by an automated digital intake tool versus standard medical notes created by clinicians. Methods: Prospective trial in a quaternary academic Emergency Department (ED). Notes were compared using the 5-point Physician Documentation Quality Instrument (PDQI-9) scale and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) level of complexity index. Reviewers were board certified emergency medicine physicians blinded to note origin. Reviewers received training and calibration prior to note assessments. A difference of 1 point was considered clinically significant. Analysis included McNemar's (binary), Wilcoxon-rank (Likert), and agreement with Cohen's Kappa. Results: A total of 148 ED medical encounters were charted by both digital note and standard clinical note. The ability to capture patient information was assessed through comparison of note content across paired charts (digital-standard note on the same patient), as well as scores given by the reviewers. Reviewer agreement was kappa 0.56 (CI 0.49–0.64), indicating moderate level of agreement between reviewers scoring the same patient chart. Considering all 18 questions across PDQI-9 and CMS scales, the average agreement between standard clinical note and digital note was 54.3% (IQR 44.4–66.7%). There was a moderate level of agreement between content of standard and digital notes (kappa 0.54, 95%CI 0.49–0.60). The quality of the digital note was within the 1 point clinically significant difference for all of the attributes, except for conciseness. Digital notes had a higher frequency of CMS severity elements identified. Conclusion: Digitally generated clinical notes had moderate agreement compared to standard clinical notes and within the one point clinically significant difference except for the conciseness attribute. Digital notes more reliably documented billing components of severity. The use of automated notes should be further explored to evaluate its utility in facilitating documentation of patient encounters.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)79-85
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Emergency Medicine
StatePublished - Jan 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Comparison of clinical note quality between an automated digital intake tool and the standard note in the emergency department'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this