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Geisinger study: Use of digital health records improve health of the elderly

DANVILLE, PA. Use of medications that are linked to increased risk of falls in the elderly can be reduced through careful review of patient files in the Electronic Health Record, new Geisinger research shows.

Psychoactive drugs such as anti-anxiety medicines impact a persons neurochemistry and may predispose elderly patients to falls, which are a major cause of injury and death in the elderly.

Geisinger pharmacists and geriatricians recently reviewed the medication records of several hundred elderly patients using Geisingers advanced, $90 million Electronic Health Record.

After the review, the patients primary care doctor received an e-mail that contained medication recommendations tailored to individual patients.

Elderly patients used fewer psychoactive medications after their cases were reviewed, which has the potential to reduce falls, according to a Geisinger study in the April Journal of General Internal Medicine.

Our research shows the importance of documenting a persons medication lists, Geisinger Director of Internal Medicine and lead study lead author Valerie Weber, MD said. The Electronic Health Record is a great tool for monitoring a persons medication and avoiding usage problems.

Its estimated that 30% of patients over 65 take eight or more medications, which helps fuel healthcare spending. U.S. prescription drug sales topped more than $250 billion in 2007.


Contact: Justin Walden
Geisinger Health System

Page: 1

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