Studies Illustrate Clinical Benefits Associated with EHRs

The move to electronic health records is on – as the federal government is spending billions of dollars to encourage wide-spared adoption of the technology. Two new studies recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) indicate that the money will be well spent.

One study showed that the use of electronic health records in a clinical setting led to a decrease in emergency room visits and hospitalizations for patients with diabetes.

“Using the electronic health record in the outpatient setting improved the quality of care in ways that cumulatively resulted in fewer negative events,” said Mary Reed, Ph.D. staff scientist with the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research and the study’s lead author, in a statement. “A reduction in the number of emergency department visits represents not just improvements in diabetes care, but the cumulative effect of the EHR across many different care pathways and conditions.”

Researchers found that use of the EHR was associated with 28.80 fewer ED visits per 1000 patients annually (95% CI, 20.28 to 37.32). The EHR was also associated with 13.10 fewer hospitalizations per 1000 patients annually.

The other study found that the use of an EHR could help identify growth disorders in children.  According to the research, which was conducted in Finland, 28 of more than 32,400 children were diagnosed with growth disorders when clinicians utilized an automated growth monitoring program that was integrated into an EHR, while only four of about 33,000 children were diagnosed with the growth disorder when the technology was not used.