Physicians who use electronic health record systems achieve significantly higher care quality scores for certain health conditions than doctors using paper records, according to a study published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, Healthcare IT News reports (McCann, Healthcare IT News, 10/9).
For the study, researchers from Weil Cornell Medical College in New York analyzed 2008 care quality data for 262 physicians using paper charts and 204 physicians using EHRs. The study includes information from 74,618 patients.
The study found that:
- 90.1% of physicians using EHR systems performed appropriate hemoglobin A1c testing for patients with diabetes, compared with 84.2% of physicians using paper records;
- 78.6% of EHR users met care quality measures for breast cancer screening, compared with 74.2% of physicians using paper records;
- 65.8% of EHR users met care quality measures for chlamydia screening, compared with 53% of physicians using paper records; and
- 51.3% of EHR users met care quality measures for colorectal cancer screening, compared with 48% of physicians using paper records (Robeznieks, Modern Physician, 10/9).
Comments on Findings
Lisa Kern -- associate professor of public health and medicine at Weill Cornell and the study's lead investigator -- said, "This is one of the first studies to find a positive association between the use of EHRs and quality of care in a typical community-based setting, using an off-the-shelf [EHR] that has not been extensively tailored and refined" (Healthcare IT News, 10/9).
According to a statement from the Hudson Valley Initiative -- a New York-based project aimed at transforming health care delivery -- the study demonstrates that the federal government's investment in health IT adoption -- as well as physicians' investment in EHR systems -- could lead to improvements in health care (Hudson Valley Initiative release, 10/8).