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EHRs helped physicians gather and track patients' medical information more efficiently than paper records

A new study shows that doctors who use electronic health records (EHRs) over paper records are able to provide patients with better care.

The study, which was led by Lisa Kern from the Health Information Technology Evaluation Collaborative in the U.S., found that EHRs helped physicians gather and track patients' medical information more efficiently than paper records.

Kern and her team studied 466 physicians and 74,618 patients in the Hudson Valley region of New York. Half of the physicians used EHRs while the other half used paper records in an ambulatory care setting.

The quality of care was measured using nine specific quality measures: hemoglobin testing, eye exams, renal function testing, cholesterol testing, chlamydia screening, breast cancer screening, colorectal cancer screening, upper respiratory infections in children and sore throat in children.

"We found that EHR use is associated with higher quality ambulatory care in a multi-payer community with concerted efforts to support EHR implementation," said Kern and her team in the study. "In contrast to several recent national and statewide studies, which found no effect of EHR use, this study's finding is consistent with national efforts to promote meaningful use of EHRs."

More specifically, the study found that four areas of the nine quality measures especially benefitted from EHRs, including breast cancer screening, chlamydia screening, colorectal cancer screening and hemoglobin testing.

Source: Springer

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By jahinoz on 10/19/2012 12:18:38 AM , Rating: 3
So they did a study proving technology improves efficiency.

Absolute waste of research time.

RE: Garbage
By michael67 on 10/19/2012 2:14:32 AM , Rating: 2
That there are benefits of the use of a EHR is beyond doubt, only the downside is that insurance companies get even more info on how to keep and how to drop or rise prices on.

And there is no way in hell that insurance companies can be trusted whit that data to do the right thing.

RE: Garbage
By michael67 on 10/19/2012 2:37:12 AM , Rating: 2
Ooops, on how to keep and how drop = on who to keep and who drop.

Correcting it my self, before some language stasi get a hold of it.

RE: Garbage
By mdogs444 on 10/19/2012 7:08:40 AM , Rating: 3
I work for a major hospital and am involved in the EHR project. What I can tell you is that insurance companies aren't really getting much more info now than they would have before. However, what EHR's do is enable more fraud because there is such lack of proof needed to submit a claim. In addition, they are not more efficient in the short term as providers are seeing on average 1/3 less patients per day because of the growing pains of the system and the amount of time it takes to document on a computer versus paper.

With that being said, I personally am not for EHR even though I work on it, because I hate the idea of everything about you being available on an electronic network for someone to be able to hack into and get.

RE: Garbage
By starcrusade on 10/19/2012 11:52:28 AM , Rating: 2
I work in an outpatient pharmacy and the biggest problem we've seen (besides the fact that prescribing errors have at least doubled) is that the doctors and nurses take the EHR though it was set in stone. We've had plenty of times where something was "Supposed" to be input into the EHR but instead ended up on a note to input later and gets lost.

All I have to say about EHR is Garbage in / Garbage out. Most doctors don't have the time or desire to learn all the ins and outs of the system and the nurses, well most the time they aren't nurses anymore to save money they're all CMA's who are overworked, underpaid and undereducated. (CMA's only take 1 year at a vocational school)

RE: Garbage
By Lord 666 on 10/19/2012 8:35:30 PM , Rating: 2
Welcome back...

I equate adopting EHRs to the five stages of death. First is denial and then go all the way through to acceptance.

While I cannot speak for hospital deployments, have a fair share of ambulatory rollouts and see the same patterns of the five stages of death.

After an initial cut of patient load by 50%, it should be able to return to normal or more after 1 month of so. The quality of ambulatory go-lives really depends on leadership for all parts of the project team in addition to the quality of training.

RE: Garbage
By tayb on 10/19/2012 10:36:39 AM , Rating: 2
Right now it's more likely that it hurts efficiency. There are growing pains getting doctors and hospitals out of 1980s style record keeping. But the returns that can be realized from having health records digital is incredible. Data mining, statistical analysis, predictive analytics, fraud detection, you name it. The biggest problems we have in health care is over prescribing treatments/tests/medication, fraud, abuse, and waste. It's estimated that this crap costs consumers $750 billion a year and properly utilizing EHR data can dramatically help combat this.

RE: Garbage
By kattanna on 10/19/2012 10:49:00 AM , Rating: 2
doctors and hospitals out of 1980s style record keeping

my wife does medical coding and the horror stories i hear of just how disconnected things are is WOW to me. One clinic might be pure paper records..another partial electronic, yet wants things coded differently then another clinic that does the same thing..

and right now there are real legitimate privacy concerns. She has worked for a couple places where they had to fire people for accessing the electronic records of celebrities without authorization. which is good one the one hand.. they do track who accesses what.. but I still have to wonder why they have access to records they shouldnt be looking at.

another thing that makes me shake my head and chuckle about all the talk of electronic records is just how localized most of these systems seem to be. you can have hospital group A have their own system.. which another regional group cannot access..because they use their own system which others cannot access.

RE: Garbage
By TSS on 10/20/2012 8:47:12 AM , Rating: 2
Last time i went to the doctor here because of my bad shoulder, i went to a different one then my old doctor. What actually happened as i was summoned in, was that i got to talk to a nurse for around 6, 7 minutes. She typed in a small report in the computer from what i said when i explained my problem.

5 minutes later the doctor came in, read the report (which took like 2 minutes in and by itself) then continued to disregard pretty much everything i said in favor of the report of things i said earlyer.

Are you sure technology improves efficiency? I mean overall it took the doctor less time to review my case. But i still have that bad shoulder.

funny thing too, he came in earlyer when i was still talking to the nurse, and he said "oh you're still busy?" and then walked out again, came back 3-4 minutes later.

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