Electronic Health Records Have Limited Effect On Quality Of Care

Armen Hareyan's picture

Electronic Health Records

Electronic health records have a limited effect on the quality of careprovided during ambulatory visits to certain physicians, according to astudy published in the July 9 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine, the HealthDay/Washington Post reports.


For the study, Jeffrey Linder, associate physician in the division of general internal medicine and primary care at Brigham and Women's Hospitalin Boston, and colleagues examined ambulatory care visits tononfederally funded, community, office-based physician practicesnationwide and compared those visits using 17 indicators of qualitycare. The study found no overall difference in the quality of careprovided during ambulatory visits with and without the use of EHRs.

"Inclinic visits in which doctors did use and didn't use electronic healthrecords, we didn't find clear evidence that EHR use was associated withbetter quality," Linder said, adding, "There's nothing magical aboutelectronic health records. You need to have tools in place that takeadvantage of technology to show improvements in quality. You need to doadditional work instead of just turning on the computer."

Jay Brooks -- chair of hematology/oncology at the Ochsner Clinic Foundationin Baton Rouge, La. -- said, "Electronic medical records are tools, andthey are a tool that allows you to do the right thing. Whether or notyou do the right thing is a separate question. They (the study authors)didn't show that these parameters were met, but at least you know thatthey weren't met. Don't blast the medical records for that" (Gardner, HealthDay/Washington Post, 7/11).

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