Category Archives: Health records/electronic health records

Apr 10 2014
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RWJF Scholars in the News: Electronic health records, nurse mentoring, ‘longevity gaps,’ 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, alumni, and grantees. Some recent examples:

The California Action Coalition has developed a mentorship program that is helping prepare the next generation of nurses to serve as leaders on health care reform. The state’s mentorship program dovetails with the 2014 leadership focus of the Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action, a national effort backed by RWJF and AARP that is working to transform health care through nursing. “Mentoring is key to strengthening any leader,” Mary Dickow, MPA, tells Nurse Zone. “Having strong mentors in my life helped me think differently and advance. I wouldn’t be where I am today without them.” Dickow is statewide director of the California Action Coalition.

A recent interview in the Atlantic with David Blumenthal, MD, MPP, has generated numerous comments from readers weighing in on the merits of electronic health records (EHRs). Blumenthal is former national coordinator for health information technology at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and a recipient of an RWJF Investigator Award in Health Policy Research. He points out in the interview that EHRs offer “substantial” benefits for patients, but notes that in the short-term, providers incur significant costs and that it will take time to make the transition to EHRs. The Atlantic has now published several articles highlighting reader comments, which can be found here, here, and here. FierceEMR published a story about the give-and-take, which notes that many of the commenters who are skeptical about the value of EHRs are physicians.

RWJF Health & Society Scholars program University of Wisconsin-Madison Site Director David Kindig, MD, PhD, appeared on the Kojo Nnamdi Show on Washington, D.C.’s WAMU radio to discuss the “longevity gap,”—the growing gap in life expectancy between the rich and the poor. Kindig and other guests explore how health care reform and policies to address income inequality might affect the gap.

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Nov 21 2013
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Human Capital News Roundup: Electronic health records, the widow effect, child safety restraint laws, 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, alumni, and grantees. Some recent examples:

Race and economic status are not as important as social network in predicting whether a person will become a victim of a fatal shooting in Chicago, according to a study from Andrew Papachristos, PhD, an RWJF Health & Society Scholars alumnus. “Generally, you can’t catch a bullet from just anyone,” Papachristos told the Chicago Sun Times. “Your relationship with the people involved matters.” The study was also covered by NPR, U.S. News & World Report, and Psych Central, among other outlets.

Most organizations across the United States are in the middle stages of implementing electronic health records, Ann O’Brien, RN, told NurseZone.com. O’Brien is senior director of clinical informatics for Kaiser Permanente and an RWJF Executive Nurse Fellow. “At Kaiser … we have almost three years now of electronic health record data and the ability to actually optimize data and technology to improve care,” she said.

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Aug 7 2013
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Health Care Transformation in the Context of Caring

Ann O’Brien, MSN, RN, is national director of clinical informatics for Kaiser Permanente - National Patient Care Services & KP Information Technology. She is a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Executive Nurse Fellow (2011-2014).

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I had the honor of hearing Donald Berwick, MD, present last week at the American Hospital Association Leadership Forum in San Diego. In fact, I registered for the conference to hear his keynote address. He brings the unique perspective of both of his previous roles: president and CEO of the Institute of Healthcare Improvement (IHI) and, most recently, director of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. 

But more importantly he knows the secret of how to transform care. In fact, we can go back to the 2001 Institute of Medicine (IOM) report, Crossing the Quality Chasm: A New Health System for the 21st Century for the six aims of health care improvement:  safe, effective, patient centered, timely, efficient and equitable. Berwick was on that IOM committee and expressed concern last week with the progress we have made in meeting those goals over 12 years.

Health information technology (IT) has been touted as a way to promote safety, efficiency, quality and patient-centered care. But these benefits have yet to be realized because there has not been large scale adoption of electronic medical records (EMR) and enabling technology to achieve these goals.

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Apr 3 2013
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Electronic Health Records Interoperability: Friend or Foe

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.

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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.

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Jan 17 2013
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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.

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May 24 2012
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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.

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Jan 25 2012
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Study Finds Electronic Health Records Improve Nursing Care

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.

Jan 29 2011
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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.

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