EHR Data Can Improve Patient Care

Ways to utilize data include use of EHR reminders, customized health maintenance alerts.
Ways to utilize data include use of EHR reminders, customized health maintenance alerts.

The data from electronic health records (EHRs) should be utilized to improve the quality of patient care, according to an article published online in Medical Economics.

Noting that physician frustration over the functionality of EHR systems has been increasing, the author of the article, Ken Terry, discusses ways to utilize data from EHRs to improve the quality of patient care.

According to Terry, EHR reminders should be used, and can greatly increase screening rates. Customizing health maintenance alerts improves care, particularly in chronic conditions. Registry functionality should be used, and results should be shared with the health care team. Finally, the benefits of structured data should be maximized.

"If you find EHR documentation a bit overwhelming and resent the time it takes away from patient care, you might view the idea of using your EHR for quality improvement as a non sequitur. But some studies show that EHRs also do improve patient care and safety," Terry writes.

"Moreover, we're entering a new era of value-based reimbursement, in which part of your income will be based on your quality scores. So it's worth considering how your EHR can help you raise those scores."

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