Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Study Links Electronic Health Records To Improved Quality In Primary Care Treatment

Date:
October 6, 2009
Source:
RAND Corporation
Summary:
A new study finds that routine use of electronic health records may improve the quality of care provided in community-based primary care practices more than other common strategies intended to raise the quality of medical care. The study, which examined 305 primary care practices in Massachusetts, is one of the first to demonstrate a link between use of electronic health records in community-based medical practices and higher quality care.

Routine use of electronic health records may improve the quality of care provided in community-based primary care practices more than other common strategies intended to raise the quality of medical care, according to a new study by RAND Corporation researchers.

Related Articles


Studying 305 groups of primary care physicians in Massachusetts, researchers found that practices that used multifunctional electronic health records were more likely to deliver better care for diabetes and provide certain health screenings than those that did not.

While quality differences discovered in the study were modest in size, the study is one of the first to demonstrate a link between use of electronic health records in community-based medical practices and higher quality care. The findings are published in the Oct. 6 edition of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

"Overall, we were surprised by how few strategies to improve the quality of care were linked to measurably better performance," said Dr. Mark W. Friedberg, the study's lead author and an associate natural scientist at RAND, a nonprofit research organization. "The strategy that showed the most impact was use of advanced electronic health records."

Electronic health record systems were linked to higher quality care when the systems included advanced functions such as electronic reminders to physicians, and if the systems were used routinely by a medical practice.

Studies by RAND Health and other groups have documented problems with the quality of health care in the United States, including gaps in the delivery of preventive and chronic disease care.

To address these shortcomings, primary care physician practices are encouraged to invest in many types of structural changes intended to foster improved quality. These include giving physicians feedback on their performance, sending reminders to physicians and patients about needed services, having language interpreter services, offering appointments on evenings and weekends, and adopting electronic health records.

Researchers were able to examine whether such strategies could be linked to higher quality of care by making use of a unique set of information about physician practices collected by the Massachusetts Health Quality Partners.

Researchers surveyed 305 medical practices in 2007 to assess whether they had put into place any of 13 structural capabilities that are aimed at increasing the quality of medical care. That information was linked to the results reported by each practice for 13 commonly used measures of quality in four clinical areas -- diabetes treatment, depression care, overuse of medical technology and common health screenings.

Primary care medical practices that used multifunctional electronic health records performed better on five of the quality measures -- two involving diabetes care and screenings for breast cancer, colorectal cancer, and chlamydia.

Medical practice groups that had frequent meetings to discuss quality reported better results for three measures of diabetes care. Practices that reported high physician awareness of patient experience ratings reported higher performance on screenings for breast and cervical cancer. No other structural capabilities were associated with more than one measure of quality, and no capabilities were associated with better performance on depression care or overuse of services.

Researchers say their findings are relevant to ongoing discussions about the potential benefits of broadly adopting electronic health records across the nation's health care system. Recent federal legislation has called for new incentives for physicians who make "meaningful use" of the technology.

"Electronic health records with advanced features are uncommon nationally," Friedberg said. "Our results suggest that increasing their adoption may help improve the quality of care in important areas of preventive care and chronic disease management."

The study also has implications for "medical home" demonstration projects -- ongoing efforts to improve the quality of medical care by investing in the capabilities of primary care practice groups. Researchers say their study's findings may help guide expectations about the magnitude of quality improvements that may be possible from these investments.

Support for the study was provided by the Commonwealth Fund. Other authors of the study are Kathryn L. Coltin of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, Dana Gelb Safran of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, Marguerite Dresser of Massachusetts Health Quality Partners, Alan M. Zaslavsky of Harvard Medical School, and Dr. Eric C. Schneider of RAND, Brigham and Women's Hospital, and the Harvard School of Public Health.

RAND Health, a division of the RAND Corporation, is the nation's largest independent health policy research program, with a broad research portfolio that focuses on quality, costs and health services delivery, among other topics. RAND Health is the developer of COMPARE (Comprehensive Assessment of Reform Efforts), a one-of-a-kind online resource that provides objective analysis about national health care reform proposals. Visit http://www.randcompare.org to learn more.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by RAND Corporation. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

RAND Corporation. "Study Links Electronic Health Records To Improved Quality In Primary Care Treatment." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 October 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091005181638.htm>.
RAND Corporation. (2009, October 6). Study Links Electronic Health Records To Improved Quality In Primary Care Treatment. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091005181638.htm
RAND Corporation. "Study Links Electronic Health Records To Improved Quality In Primary Care Treatment." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091005181638.htm (accessed October 25, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

IKEA Desk Converts From Standing to Sitting With One Button

IKEA Desk Converts From Standing to Sitting With One Button

Buzz60 (Oct. 24, 2014) IKEA is out with a new convertible desk that can convert from a sitting desk to a standing one with just the push of a button. Jen Markham explains. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

AFP (Oct. 24, 2014) A factory in China is busy making Ebola protective suits for healthcare workers and others fighting the spread of the virus. Duration: 00:38 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
WHO: Millions of Ebola Vaccine Doses by 2015

WHO: Millions of Ebola Vaccine Doses by 2015

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) The World Health Organization said on Friday that millions of doses of two experimental Ebola vaccines could be ready for use in 2015 and five more experimental vaccines would start being tested in March. (Oct. 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctor in NYC Quarantined With Ebola

Doctor in NYC Quarantined With Ebola

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) An emergency room doctor who recently returned to the city after treating Ebola patients in West Africa has tested positive for the virus. He's quarantined in a hospital. (Oct. 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins