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Electronic health records with technical assistance can improve patient care in New York City
Date:1/7/2013

NEW YORK (Jan. 7, 2013) -- The relationship between a physician practice's adoption of electronic health records (EHR) and quality improvements in patient care remains unclear. However, a new study published in the January issue of Health Affairs by Weill Cornell Medical College and the Primary Care Information Project (PCIP) of the New York City Health Department shows evidence that EHR implementation can improve patient care in small physician practices in New York City when combined with sustained high-intensity technical assistance.

To evaluate the effects EHRs have on patient care within small physician practices, the research team used an independent data source using multi-payer medical claims in New York state (New York Quality Alliance), linking the data to small practices enrolled in the Primary Care Information Project. This New York City Health Department initiative provided subsidized EHR software with clinical decision support and onsite technical assistance to 3,300 physicians at 600 primary care practices in underserved neighborhoods serving disadvantaged populations to improve quality of care. This is the United States' largest community-based EHR implementation program, and the PCIP continues to provide technical assistance and education to more than 7,200 providers through its regional extension center, NYC REACH.

The research study found EHR implementation alone was not enough to improve patient care overall or known "EHR sensitive" quality improvement measures, such as cancer screenings and diabetes care. In fact, the researchers reported it took physician practices a minimum of nine months of EHR exposure, combined with eight or more technical assistance visits, to demonstrate any significant statistical improvements in certain key quality measures, including breast cancer screening, retinal exam and urine testing for diabetes patients, chlamydia screening for women and colorectal cancer screening. Physician offices
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Contact: Lauren Woods
Law2014@med.cornell.edu
646-317-7401
Weill Cornell Medical College
Source:Eurekalert

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