Researchers: EHR Doesn’t Improve Care
Two researchers at Stanford University, Palo Alto, Calif., say their research shows the use of electronic health records (EHRs) doesn’t improve the quality of care after all, countering one of the major arguments for adoption.
The three year study of data from 250,000 patient visits in 2005 through 2007 looked at whether computerized, clinical decision-support tools in EHR systems improved quality of care. The researchers report in “Electronic Health Records and Clinical Decision Support Systems: Impact on National Ambulatory Care Quality,” published online in the Archives of Internal Medicine that there was “no consistent association between EHRs and clinical decisions and better quality … These results raise concerns about the ability of health information technology to fundamentally alter outpatient care quality.”
Senior author Dr. Randall Stafford, of Stanford, who worked with undergraduate student Max Romano, says in a Stanford press release, “There’s a lot of enthusiasm and money being invested in electronic health records. It makes sense, but on the other hand it’s an unproven proposition. When the federal government decides to invest in healthcare technology because it will improve the quality of care, that’s not based on evidence. That’s a presumption.”