A select number of studies have been produced that actually record and take into account where some of the most common care issues fall when using electronic medical records. This report in Information Week has the details on which items were evaluated and how. A third party was used to aggregate the data since many insurers still do not share information with each other. The comparison was made between electronic and paper records and in almost every area, the doctors using EHRS were the winners. There were almost equal amounts of over 200 on each side of the fence.
This is certainly a bright spot as thus far the link between care and using electronic medical records has not been documented. This is only the first study and there will be more, just so a good number of doctors and records are entered into the mix.
“Physicians with electronic health records (EHRs) systems provide more recommended preventive and chronic care to patients compared to physicians in the same community who use paper charts, suggests a study in the Journal of General Internal Medicine. This paper is the latest in a recent spate of reports indicating that EHRs can help improve the quality of care.
Most studies that look at the relationship between EHRs and quality have been performed in academic medical centers and integrated delivery systems. The distinguishing characteristic of the JGIM study is that it took place in a community that had multiple health plans and predominantly small practices. “This is one of the first studies to find a positive association between EHRs and ambulatory quality in a community-based setting,” the researchers noted
On four of the remaining nine measures–hemoglobin A1c testing in diabetes, breast cancer screening, chlamydia screening, and colorectal cancer screening–EHRs were associated with significantly higher performance. EHR users also scored higher than paper users–although not by much–on LDL testing and nephropathy testing for patients with diabetes.”