EHRs Beat Paper in Head-to-Head Competition
- Nearly 51% of patients in EHR practices received care that met all four of the endorsed standards, compared to just 7% of patients at paper-based practices.
- Nearly 44% of patients in EHR practices met at least four of five outcome standards, compared to about 16% of patients at paper-based practices.
- After accounting for patient differences, EHR practices had annual improvements in care that were 10% greater than paper-based practices, as well as 4% greater annual improvements in outcomes.
Furthermore, it made no difference whether patients were insured by commercial payers, Medicare, Medicaid, or even if they were uninsured—all showed better results in standards of care and outcomes.
“Some of the rather dramatic differences that we’re showing are a function of sharing across systems and best practices with regard to common conditions and common metrics that we’ve all agreed to attack,” Greater Health Director Randall Cebul, MD, the study’s lead author, told HealthLeaders Media.
“There’s a lot of coaching that goes on. We say we share ideas and compete on execution. Electronic Health Records are simply tools. And the master craftsman will have a workbench with all the tools on it but knows how to use them and uses them in the right circumstances,” said Cebul, who is also a medical professor at Case Western Reserve University and practices at The MetroHealth System—both organizations are members of Better Health Greater Cleveland. “We are training one another in what the tricks of the trade are, in order to do better on the kinds of things that in an increasingly busy primary care practice could be overlooked.”
The study should pave the way for similar projects, said David Kaelber, MD, MetroHealth’s chief medical informatics officer, in an interview. “I hope that this is one indication that we’re really getting to the tipping point.
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