EMRs pinpoint preventative/follow-up care faster

Primary care practices using electronic medical records (EMRs) identify patients who need preventative or follow-up care 30 times faster than practices using paper, according to a recent study.

The study was commissioned by Canada Health Infoway, a not-for-profit organization funded by the Canadian government, and conducted by researchers at St. Mary's Research Centre, MedbASE Research and McGill University.

Essentially, practices were asked to identify their patients who qualified for six interventions - immunization, follow-up care after a heart attack, cancer screening, diabetes management and two medication recalls - by reviewing charts, then report how long it took to do so. Those practices that did not complete the chart review by a cut-off time, recorded the percentage of charts they had reviewed.

Practices using EMRs reviewed the records of all their active patients in an average of 1.4 hours. Paper-based practices, meanwhile, reviewed 10 percent of all active charts in 3.9 hours - meaning they would need 40 hours to conduct a full practice review.

Practices using EMRs were also more confident in their ability to contact patients regarding follow-up care or intervention. On a scale of one to five, with five being very confident and one being not confident, practices using EMRs chose 3.8 vs.1.9 for paper-based practices.

Richard Alvarez, president and CEO of Canada Health Infoway, said, “These results demonstrate the value of EMRs in enabling clinicians to deliver high-quality patient care in a timely fashion.”

The AMA Wants You to Adopt an EMR

The American Medical Association (AMA) is taking an active role in persuading physicians to use information technology (IT), including electronic medical records (EMRs), in their practices—which shouldn’t come as a surprise, given that the AMA has been working with a number of leading health care IT organizations, such as the EHR Collaborative, e-Health Initiative, and the National Alliance for Health Information Technology, for some time.

Managing Change in EMR Implementation

When your medical practice makes the transition to an electronic medical record (EMR), which is inevitable, careful planning can help the change go smoothly—and careful planning, in the context of EMR implementation, can be referred to as “change management”.

Change management consists of up-front assessment and planning—but there’s much more involved than simply creating a project plan for your new IT implementation.