Advanced EHRs Help Hospitals Reduce Mortality Rates, Study Finds

August 14, 2014 in News

Hospitals that use advanced electronic health record systems are better able to predict and reduce mortality rates for certain conditions, according to a new study by HIMSS Analytics, Clinical Innovation Technology reports (Pedulli, Clinical Innovation Technology, 8/13).

HIMSS Analytics is the research arm of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society.

Researchers used clinical data and analytics support from Healthgrades to complete the study (HIMSS Analytics study, August 2014).

Details of Study

For the study, researchers analyzed records from more than 4,500 acute-care facilities on 32 procedures, of which 19 were evaluated for an outcome of mortality.

Using HIMSS Analytics’ Electronic Medical Record Adoption Model, researchers:

  • Predicted mortality rates for each of the 19 conditions; and
  • Compared the predictions to the actual rate and each hospital’s level of EHR use.

Findings

Overall, the researchers found that advanced EHR systems resulted in lower actual mortality rates. Specifically, in hospitals with advanced systems, the actual mortality rate was lower than predicted for:

  • Heart attacks;
  • Respiratory failure; and
  • Small intestine surgery (Durben Hirsch, FierceEMR, 8/13).

Of the remaining conditions, only one — sepsis — showed that advanced EHR use was associated with an increase in the actual mortality rate (HIMSS Analytics study, August 2014).

Implications

Richard Skinner, a HIMSS Analytics board member and the CIO and chief technology officer at the University of Virginia Health System, said, “Hospitals should take this study as an indication that they can obtain clinical value and better outcomes for their patients not solely through the use of an [EHR], but by focusing on optimizing use of their [EHR].”

However, Skinner noted that the results of this study are preliminary and further research is needed to examine variations in the results (Clinical Innovation Technology, 8/13).

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