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Fact and Stats

A new study, published in the journal American Journal of Managed Care, has revealed that it is no sure bet that hospitals who move to electronic health records (EHR) will improve medical care in these facilities.

The study was carried out by researchers at RAND, a non-profit research organization and focused on roughly 2,020 hospitals around the U.S. Researchers looked at quality of care for heart failure, heart attack and pneumonia between 2003 and 2007. The number represents about half of all non-federal acute care hospitals in the U.S.

What researchers found was that EHR did nothing to improve overall medical care.  Quality improvement rates during the time span for heart failure patients were 2.6% at hospitals with basic EHR over those without EHR, but 3.0% lower at hospitals that had upgraded to an advanced EHR system than at hospitals with no EMR system. For heart attack patients, hospitals with advanced EHR systems had a 0.9% lower quality improvement rate than hospitals without EHR. 

Hospitals with advanced EHR systems also had quality improvement rates that were 1.2% lower for heart attack patients and 2.8% lower for heart failure patients when compared with hospitals with more basic EHR systems. The analysts reported no significant difference in the quality improvement rates for pneumonia patients between hospitals with EHR and those without.

Researchers stated that the hospitals that they tested already had very high performance scores. The belief is that once they hit these high levels, even with electronic health records it is very high to improve them any further.

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Source: Electronic Health Record Adoption and Quality Improvement in US Hospitals.

Date: December 23, 2010

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, January 5th, 2011 at 2:40 pm and is filed under Longwoods Online.