EHRs Linked to Improved Care for Patients with Diabetes

The use of EHRs in clinical settings led to a decrease in ER visits and hospitalizations for patients with diabetes, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

Kaiser Permanente researchers examined the medical records of 169,711 diabetic patients over one year of age in the Kaiser Permanente diabetes clinical registry before and after the implementation of Kaiser Permanente HealthConnect®, the organization’s comprehensive EHR system. They found that diabetic patients visited the ER 29 fewer times per 1,000 patients and were hospitalized 13 fewer times per 1,000 patients annually after the implementation.

Other key findings include the following:

  • Annual ER visits declined 5.5 percent, from 519 visits per 1,000 diabetes patients before EHRs to 490 visits per 1,000 diabetes patients afterward.
  • Annual hospitalizations declined 5.2 percent, from 239 per 1,000 diabetes patients before EHRs to 252 per 1,000 diabetes patients afterward.
  • The number of office visits for patients with diabetes before and after EHRs were implemented didn’t change.

KP HealthConnect enables all Kaiser Permanente clinicians to electronically access their patients’ medical records and serves as a model for other care systems. The EHR is directly connected to My Health Manager, which empowers members with easy and convenient access to their health information and health management tools like the ability to email their care teams or refill prescriptions.

This study is part of Kaiser Permanente’s ongoing work to better understand how EHRs affect clinical care. In October of last year, Kaiser Permanente researchers found that use of EHRs was associated with improved drug-treatment intensification, monitoring and risk-factor control among patients with diabetes.

Source: Kaiser Permanente , September 10, 2013

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Managing Population Health with Integrated Registries and Effective Patient Touchpoints presents Jim Bellows, PhD, Senior Director, Evaluation and Analytics, Kaiser Permanente, who shares his organization’s approach to population care and population health management.

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