The growing trend of electronic health records is greatly affecting the healthcare industry. New technologies are improving quality of life and the level of communication between patients and physicians. While the full integration process occurs, though, working with a hospital consultant can ensure that medical facilities make a smooth transition.
The Kaiser Permanente Northern California (KPNC) facilities recently implemented EHRs, which led to better drug treatment intensification, monitoring and physiological control among patients with diabetes and high cholesterol, according to research published in the "Annals of Internal Medicine."
Mary Reed, DrPH, a staff scientist at KPNC, led the research team. Between 2005 and 2008, EHRs were implemented in all 17 facilities, using pre-implementation records and tests as a baseline for comparison. HbA1C tests - which monitor the amount of glucose in a patient's blood over time - were one of the tests that led to positive results.
Before the new system was in place, there was 27.5 percent chance that patients with HbA1C levels of more than 9 percent would return for a retest within 90 days and an 83.5 percent chance they would return within one year. After the EHRs were installed, those numbers rose to 28.3 percent and 86.7 percent, respectively. This showed that with EHRs, patients were more likely to return for retests.
"The EHR helped alignment with quality measures and clinical guidelines for treatment," the researchers wrote. "Increases in information availability, decision support and order entry functionality helped clinicians to better target retesting."
The report concluded that the EHR may be a powerful tool for physicians to administer high-quality chronic disease care and increase the outcomes of patients.
In order to ensure a smooth transition like the KPNC experienced, medical facilities would be well-advised to partner with a hospital consultant who is trained in healthcare IT consulting. That way, employees will be properly educated in the best ways to provide quality care to patients.