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The use of electronic health records to identify the best treatment option for patients is more efficient and less costly than the current clinical trial process, according to a study published in the journal Health Technology Assessment
For the study, which was funded in part by the National Institute for Health Research and the Welcome Trust, researchers from several universities in the United Kingdom, used a new computer program in 23 approved general practitioners across England and Scotland.
The first part of the study used 300 patients' electronic health records, which are stored in the Clinical Practice Research Datalink and updated during routine medical visits, to monitor the effects of their prescribed treatments.
A second part of the study, which involved 31 participants, looked at the use of antibiotics among patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
The researchers determined that they were able to understand health patterns related to specific prescribed medications and determine which treatments were more effective by analyzing EHRs.
They added that the EHR analysis offers a larger and more diverse overview of the general population than current clinical trial methods.
The researchers also noted that using EHRs allows the analysis to be conducted with minimal effects on the lives of the patients, whose involvement in the process stops after their initial consent.
According to the researchers, 26 out of 27 general practitioners who participated in the study expressed strong support for the use of patients' EHRs for research purposes. In addition, 10 patients who were interviewed by the researchers all said that their involvement in trial was an acceptable practice
A recent HIMSS study reveals hospitals that have implemented EMRs can better predict and decrease mortality rates.
HIMSS Analytics and Healthgradesrecently released EMR Effectiveness: The Positive Benefit Electronic Medical Record Adoption has on Mortality Rates, a whitepaper analyzing the effects of electronic medical record (EMR) implementation on predicting and decreasing mortality rates. The study set out to specifically answer the following questions:
Is there a relationship between the level of adoption of electronic medical records and hospital performance?What aspect of that performance is related most strongly to the adoption?Are there certain clinical areas (defined by the Healthgrades mortality - based cohorts) where this relationship is stronger or weaker?What additional variables, if any are related to the adoption level?
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Via Ignacio Fernández Alberti, CTIC-FCS-UC
Though the industry has made outstanding progress in adopting EMRs, the practice of data acquisition from patients remains cloudy.
A recommendation from the HITSC Meaningful Use Workgroup would require practices with electronic health records (EHRs) to allow 10 percent of patients to report PGHD electronically.
If approved in meaningful use stage 3, the final stage of HealthIT.gov’s EHR incentive program, it could push hospitals to incorporate patient-generated data.
This requirement may seem like a relatively simple intervention, but the ramifications are quite significant. If clinical decision-making is made on the basis of data supplied by patients and documented in the EMR, how can clinicians be sure that such data is complete, correct and valid? And will clinicians like me learn to rely on it, or will we disregard it due to concerns about its validity or barriers to integrating it into care flow?
Furthermore, if a patient is in control of her health data entry, who is ultimately responsible for its completeness and accuracy — the patient or the clinician?
Incorporating biometric data into the EMR, an exciting prospect, is even more complex. Though clinicians are quite familiar with data entry from FDA-approved medical devices such as blood glucose meters, pacemakers and pulmonary function units, data from a myriad of consumer-driven health devices (Fitbit and others) will soon seek to flex their way into EMRs.
Patients clearly value these data; a recent Pew Research report noted that 60 percent of adults claim to track their exercise routine, weight or diet, meaning providers have some catch-up to do in order to meet patients halfway. Some health systems, such as Partners HealthCare, have already been experimenting with the incorporation of PGHD from remote devices into the EMR, and other institutions should follow.
Consumer health data devices are moving ahead at a staggering pace, and while the health care system can’t quite keep up, strategic planning should be happening now.
Despite the challenges, incorporating PGHD is a necessary evolutionary step for health care. Intelligently designed, well-executed systems that fully incorporate and display PGHD in a meaningful way will improve shared decision-making and enable patients as active care partners. Keen clinicians and patients will stay closely tuned to the numerous transformations to come.