Although more and more healthcare practices are adopting EHRs, and the government is providing incentives for successful completion of meaningful use requirements, many doctors still question whether EHRs really improve patient care. If you’re still in doubt, consider the following:
In a study published in 2011 by the University of Pennsylvania, evidence showed that EHRs made a positive impact on healthcare disparities among medical practices. Research findings revealed that practices with EHRs had:
- fewer medication and prescription errors
- greater improvement in care coordination and patient safety
- higher quality of care
- stronger confidence in patients’ readiness for discharge
- 14% decrease in the chance “things fell between the cracks” when patients were transferred between units
In 2010, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation conducted a study of diabetic patients in Cleveland, finding:
- 50.9% of patients treated at EHR practices felt they received quality care, compared to 6.6% of patients whose doctors used paper records
- 43.7% of patients in EHR facilities met several standards of successful outcomes (body mass index, blood pressure, LDL cholesterol levels), compared to 15.7% of patients whose physicians didn’t have an EHR
Rick Weinhaus, M.D., and writer of the column EHR Design Talk with Dr. Rick on HIStalk.com, argues that a “User-Centered Design” (UCD) is the key to EHR usability issues. According to Weinhaus, a well-designed, productivity-oriented EHR that integrates with and works around your doctor’s current workflow offers a better environment for your patients.
If you are considering the two sides of the EHR debate, keep in mind the benefits of a quality, user-centric EHR. Physicians provide their patients with quality care and strengthen and grow their practices, while patients enjoy a more positive personal experience with their healthcare providers.