Moving Beyond the Paper Record
With electronic health records (EHRs), patients' health information is available in one place, when and where it is needed, so you can do a better job of managing patient care and improving health care quality. By adopting EHRs in a meaningful way, your organization can leverage the benefits of electronic health records to:
- Improve care coordination. One of the main benefits of electronic health records is all providers involved in a patient's care can access, enter, and share information in an EHR. Ready access to a comprehensive patient record will allow your organization to improve care coordination and communicate with patients. To help engage patients in their health and health care, for example, you can leverage EHRs to provide patients with after-visit summaries, electronic health information, and education materials. Providers using fully functional EHRs report the following benefits:
- Make better decisions. With more comprehensive health information at your fingertips, you can make better testing, diagnostic, and treatment decisions. You can utilize drug-drug and drug-allergy interaction checks, for example, to help prevent adverse medication outcomes and provide safer care. Providers using EHRprompts and reminders report the following benefits:
- Provide better health care.The performance-enhancing tools built into many EHRs, such as clinical decision support and real-time quality reporting, will help your organization improve health care quality.
- A study of physician practices using EHRs to treat diabetic patients in the greater Cleveland area found over half of patients in EHR-enabled practices received care that met all of the endorsed standards, as opposed to only 7% of patients at paper-based practices.6
- EHR-enabled practices had annual improvements in care that were 10% greater than those of paper-based practices.5
For More Information
For more information on the benefits of electronic health records and how EHRs can improve your organization’s ability to care for patients, see the following resources.
- Benefits of EHRs: Health Care Quality and Convenience
- Health Resources and Services Administration Health IT and Quality Webinars
- EHR System Helps Improve the Quality of Care for Patients: An Interview with Dr. Karen Smith
- New Research Finds EHRs Improve the Quality of Diabetes Care
- DesRoches CM, et al. “Electronic Health Records in Ambulatory Care – A National Survey of Physicians.” New England Journal of Medicine. 2008.
- Jamoom, E, et al. "Physician Adoption of Electronic Health Record Systems: United States, 2011." NHCS Data Brief No. 98, 2012.
- Shield RR, Goldman RE, Anthony DA, Wang N, Doyle RJ, Borkan J. “Gradual Electronic Health Record Implementation: New Insights on Physician and Patient Adaptation.” Annals of Family Medicine. 2010.
- Ciemins EL, Coon PJ, Fowles JB. "Beyond health information technology: Critical factors necessary for effective diabetes disease management", Journal of Diabetes Science and Technology. 2009.
- Baron RJ. "Quality improvement with an electronic health record: achievable but not automatic" , Annals of Internal Medicine. 2007.
- Cebul RD. “New Research Finds EHRs Improve the Quality of Diabetes Care.”