Study Finds that EHR Really Does Improve Patient Outcomes

Those of you who work closely with EHR, and directly with physicians, already know that EHR can dramatically improve patient care. This includes care for specialized conditions such as diabetes, which is the fastest growing disease in this country according to the American Diabetes Organization.

The good news is that we now have new data to back up this belief. According to a Kaiser study released today, EHRs really do improve patient care.

The study was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine. And it demonstrates that EHRs allow physicians to better target treatment changes and follow up tests, especially for specific groups like diabetics. Although this particular study only examined physicians treating diabetic patients, I believe these benefits run across the board no matter what type of patient or illness you’re treating.

According to physicians queried for the study, EHRs were also linked to:

  • Better managing disease risk factors.
  • Greater improvement in patients with poor control of diabetes symptoms.
  • Alignment of quality measures and controls for treatment.

Another important finding in this study, as explained in InformationWeek Healthcare, is that because information is readily available decisions are readily supported, and order-entries are easy, physicians are better able to identify patients who need drug treatment intensification and retesting.

More Good News…

Another closely-related, positive piece of news comes from the American College of Physicians, along with the Bipartisan Policy Center and Doctors Helping Doctors Transform Healthcare. Together, they released a study today showing that an overwhelming majority of physicians believe EHR has a positive impact on patient care, the ability to coordinate care, as well as the ability to participate in third-party reporting.

Of course, as usual there are still numerous challenges that must be overcome. According to the ACP study, more than 70% of respondents cited the lack of interoperability as the biggest hurdle to overcome, along with cost. And, respondents also stated that in transition of care, access to medication lists and relevant laboratory images are high priorities for EHR.

You can see the full ACP study here.

Final Word

Both of these studies contain some good news for physicians and the EHR community. As these third-party organizations prove more often how effective and beneficial EHR is, more doctors will hop on board. And, patients will get more comfortable with EHR technology. As their comfort level rises, they’ll likely be more willing to take an active role in their healthcare. And hopefully, this will make it easier for them to make some positive changes.

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