EHRs May Not Lead to Better Quality of Care or Outcomes

JACC in a Flash | The use electronic health records (EHRs) for ischemic stroke patients was not associated with better quality of care or patient outcomes according to a new study in JACC.

Researchers examined data from 626,473 patients at 1,236 hospitals participating in the Get With the Guidelines®-Stroke program between 2007–2010. They compared quality and outcomes for ischemic stroke patients in those hospitals with EHRs to those without. Those that used EHRs showed no better patient discharge numbers or lower in-hospital mortality rates. However, EHRs were associated with a slightly lower risk of having a prolonged hospital stay.

“The authors demonstrate that hospitals using EHR for patient care did not have significantly increased odds of achieving high-quality care for stroke patients as compared to hospitals without an EHR,” said Geoffrey D. Barnes, MD, FACC, in an ACC Journal Scan. “This is particularly timely given inclusion of financial incentives for ‘meaningful use’ of an EHR included in the Affordable Care Act. It is important to note that over 80 percent of stroke patients received ‘all-or-none’ high-quality care across all hospitals. This paper suggests that strategies other than implementation of an EHR are likely required to further improve the delivery of stroke care.”

The authors add that although EHRs are important in our increasingly high-tech and transparent healthcare system, they do not appear sufficient in improving the quality of care for this group of patients. As EHR systems can create additional work for clinicians, it is important to ensure that they are better integrated with care and are used to their fullest to improve the quality of care and outcomes for all patients.

Windle JR, Windle TA. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2015;65(18):1973-5.

Keywords: CardioSource WorldNews, Electronic Health Records, Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Stroke

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