Healthcare News & Insights

Study: EHRs help providers identify patient needs 30 times faster than paper records

One key way electronic health records (EHRs) help providers improve their care is by allowing them to keep better track of patients who are in need of preventive treatments or follow-up appointments. 

Electronic records allow doctors’ offices to identify patients in need of treatments in much less time and with greater accuracy than when using paper records, according to a recent study commissioned by Canada Health Infoway.

Researchers from St. Mary’s Research Centre, MedbASE Research and McGill University conducted a one-day “Practice Challenge” involving 21 individual physician practices in Canada.

The clinics were asked to review the records of all their active patients and identify those that needed six different types of interventions: immunization, post-heart-attack follow-up care, cancer screening, diabetes management, and two different medication recalls.

Seventeen of the practices used electronic health records (EHRs), while the other four did not. Those that did use EHRs were much more successful at completing the challenge than the others.

The practices with EHRs were able to review all of their patient records in an average of 1.4 hours. In comparison, the practices using paper records got through 10% of the records in an average of 3.9 hours, meaning they would have needed nearly 40 hours to complete a full review.

In addition to greater efficiency, the EHRs also helped improved the accuracy of the review. Those practices were more confident in their ability to contact the correct patients and get them to take the necessary actions in a timely manner, compared to the ones using paper records.

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