Category Archives: Electronic health records (EHRs)
Zachary Meisel, MD, MPH, MSc, is an emergency physician, assistant professor of emergency medicine at the University of Pennsylvania's Perelman School of Medicine, a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Clinical Scholar, a senior fellow at the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics, and a columnist on health care issues for Time.com. This is part of a series of essays, reprinted from the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics’ eMagazine, in which scholars who attended the recent AcademyHealth National Health Policy Conference reflect on the experience.
The standing-room-only crowd at the AcademyHealth National Health Policy Conference’s “Life After HITECH: Health IT Policy 2.0” session was a testament to the big stakes, high emotion and dramatic clinical implications that characterize every aspect of the electronic health records debate.
The session, moderated by former National Coordinator for Health Information Technology David Blumenthal, was one of the liveliest of the entire conference. It impaneled current National Health Information Technology (HIT) Coordinator Farzad Mostashari along with Christine Bechtel, who sits on the Government Accountability Office’s Health IT Policy Committee, and Paul Tang, the chief innovation and technology officer at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation.
Patient Privacy Issue
One issue was the national push for universal electronic health records (EHR) systems—a drive now fueled by HITECH Act funding but tangled in many discussions about unintended consequences. The first and most prominent has pivoted around worries related to patient privacy.
Human Capital News Roundup: Electronic health records, advance care planning, myths about 'death panels,' and more.
Around the country, print, broadcast and online media outlets are covering the groundbreaking work of Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) leaders, scholars, fellows and grantees. Some recent examples:
As part of its 25th anniversary celebration, Nurse.com recognized RWJF Senior Adviser for Nursing Susan B. Hassmiller, RN, PhD, FAAN, as a “pillar” of the New York/New Jersey nursing community. Hassmiller serves as director of the Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action. Nurse.com also honored Beverly L. Malone, RN, PhD, FAAN, a member of the RWJF Nurse Faculty Scholars National Advisory Committee and CEO of the National League for Nursing––one of the organizations leading RWJF’s Academic Progression in Nursing (APIN) program.
The New York Times reports on a new analysis by the RAND Corporation, co-authored by Arthur Kellermann, MD, MPH, FACEP, an alumnus of the RWJF Clinical Scholars program and the RWJF Health Policy Fellows program. The analysis finds that “the conversion to electronic health records has failed so far to produce the hoped-for savings in health care costs and has had mixed results, at best, in improving efficiency and patient care.” The article also quotes RWJF Investigator Award in Health Policy Research recipient David Blumenthal, MD, MPP. Read a post Kellermann wrote for the RWJF Human Capital Blog about health care spending.
Investigator Award recipient and RWJF Generalist Physician Faculty Scholar program alumnus Peter Ubel, MD, wrote an article for Forbes about a study he co-authored with RWJF Scholars in Health Policy Research alumnus Brendan Nyhan, PhD, and Jason Reifler, PhD, that finds the “death panel” myth––that the government would decide who was “worthy of health care” under the Affordable Care Act––has persisted, and may even grow with time. The Washington Post Wonk Blog also reported on the study. Read a post Ubel wrote for the RWJF Human Capital Blog.
Human Capital News Roundup: Electronic medical records, reducing gang-related violence, cancer-causing DNA mutations, and more.
Around the country, print, broadcast and online media outlets are covering the groundbreaking work of Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) scholars, fellows and grantees. Some recent examples:
RWJF Physician Faculty Scholar David G. Bundy, MD, MPH, also an alumnus of the RWJF Clinical Scholars program, spoke to the Baltimore Sun about a proposal being considered by Maryland health officials that would require children in the state to get more vaccines before attending school. “The recommendations for these immunizations are not new nationally,” Bundy said. “This is just updating the state’s requirement to reflect the existing recommendations. It just makes us all look like we’re in alignment with what we’re doing, and it tightens the safety net at schools for kids who may be missing vaccines.”
“They have been utilized in Texas, but not appropriately utilized,” RWJF Executive Nurse Fellows alumna Alexia Green, RN, PhD, FAAN, said of Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs), in an interview with Fox 34 (Lubbock, Texas). A new report finds that greater utilization of APRNs in Texas would save the state about $8 billion.
Mahshid Abir, MD, and Art Kellerman, MD, MPH, FACE, wrote an op-ed for USA Today about the benefits electronic health records provide for health care providers and patients, especially in the wake of natural disasters like last year’s deadly tornado in Joplin, Missouri. “The twister…heavily damaged St. John’s Regional Medical Center, sucking up patient files and X-rays and depositing them up to 70 miles away,” they write. “Fortunately, barely three weeks earlier, St. John’s had switched from paper to electronic health records… Even as the hospital’s 183 patients were being evacuated, St. John’s staff accessed and printed out their records from a remote site, and sent copies with patients to hospitals where they were transferred.” Abir is an alumnus of the RWJF/ U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs (VA) Clinical Scholars program, and Art Kellerman, MD, MPH, FACEP, is an alumnus of the RWJF Health Policy Fellows program and the Clinical Scholars program.
The use of electronic health records (EHRs) results in “improved and more efficient nursing care,” according to a study by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing (Penn Nursing). The study, published in the Journal of Nursing Administration, looked at more than 16,000 nurses working at hundreds of hospitals in four states.
Nurses who worked in hospitals with fully implemented basic EHRs reported better quality care and health outcomes for patients than nurses in hospitals without such systems, independent of nurse staffing. Nurses with EHRs were “significantly less likely to report unfavorable patient safety issues, frequent medication errors, and low quality of care,” according to a Penn Nursing statement about the study.
What do you think? Do electronic health records improve care? Do they have any disadvantages? Register below to leave a comment.
Read more about engaging nurses in health information technology.
Clinical Scholar's TIME Magazine Piece Embraces Health Information Technologies, but Warns of Unintended Consequences
Electronic medical records (EMRs) and other health information technologies (HITs) are increasingly common in America’s health care system, and the federal government has begun investing heavily in them. But in a recent article in TIME Magazine, Zachary Meisel, M.D., a member of the 2008-2010 cohort of RWJF Clinical Scholars, embraces EMRs and HITs but warns of unintended consequences of the conversion.