Accreditation

Implementing new EHRs has little impact, good or bad, on care quality

Accreditation Insider, August 2, 2016

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Anyone who’s had to upgrade a computer system can tell you it’s never as easy as advertised. While for a personal system this may just lead to some frustration, in a healthcare setting those complications have the potential to be life threatening.

That was the theory until a new study published in BMJ found that changing electronic health record (EHR) systems has a negligible short-term effect on readmission and mortality rates. The study compared readmission and mortality rates six months before and after a hospital had big EHR change, looking at data from 26,000 patient admissions.

“We observed no overall negative association between short-term inpatient outcomes among Medicare enrollees and EHR implementation in a sample of 17 hospitals,” the authors write. “Our findings should be reassuring to hospitals and physicians who are considering or planning the implementation of EHRs.”

The authors had originally hypothesized that EHR implementation would have a negative effect on patient care due to workflow disruption. In their conclusion, they speculated that clinical resiliency and advanced planning among hospitals might go a long way to prevent disruption.


 



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