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Federal investment in electronic health records likely to reap returns in quality of care
Date:8/31/2011

onal reform. Common themes across the communities include public reporting of performance and community-wide initiatives to improve care.

"Cleveland stands as a pioneer in the burgeoning movement to leverage local resources and federal reform opportunities to improve health care quality," said Anne F. Weiss, M.P.P., who leads efforts to improve the quality of American health care at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. "Electronic health records alone cannot solve the nation's health care quality problems, but they are an important part of the fix. Cleveland's use of electronic health records is a model for all health care organizations working to implement health reform."

The Better Health study focused on a 12-month window spanning 2009 and 2010, and also followed trends over a three-year period. The study also measured achievement by age, gender and racial and ethnic categories as well as language preference and estimated patient income and education.

Better Health's locally vetted national standards for care included timely measurements of blood sugar, management of kidney problems, eye examinations, and vaccinations for pneumonia. Outcome measures included meeting national benchmarks for blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol control, as well as achieving a non-obese Body Mass Index and avoidance of tobacco use. Patients who made at least two visits to the same primary care practice within a single year were included. The researchers reported results for individual standards as well as separate composite standards for care and outcomes.

The study's findings were striking even after researchers statistically accounted for differences between EHR and paper-based practices in the characteristics of their patients.

  • Standards of Care: Nearly 51 percent of patients in EHR practices received care that met all of the endorsed standards. Only 7 percent of patients at paper-based practices received this same level o
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Contact: Chris Sheridan
chris.sheridan@case.edu
216-368-2774
Case Western Reserve University
Source:Eurekalert

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