Study: EHR Modification Can Help Meet Quality and Safety Goals

December 23, 2014 in News

The ability to easily modify electronic health record systems can help providers meet safety and quality goals, according to a study published in Electronic Data Methods, Politico‘s “Morning eHealth” reports (Gold, “Morning eHealth,” Politico, 12/23).

Study Details

For the study, researchers at Baylor Scott White Health investigated an integrated care health system’s use of EHRs to implement procedures to prevent and mitigate intensive care unit patients from developing delirium. Providers commonly use an evidence-based practice called daily awakening and breathing trials, formal delirium screening, and early mobility — or ABCDE bundle — to prevent delirium in ICU patients (Collinsworth et al., EDM, 12/18).

Specifically, researchers aimed to identify best practices by designing a tab in the EHR system’s patient viewer, allowing providers to track the progress of tasks within the ABCDE bundle and view the processes’ effects.

Study Findings

Overall, researchers found that EHR customization was complex and time-consuming. Specifically, they said certain steps were necessary to customize EHR systems, including:

  • Allocating sufficient time for such a project, which took longer than researchers expected;
  • Gaining buy-in from senior leadership to secure resources to modify EHR systems;
  • Involving the different team players in EHR design;
  • Training clinical staff on proper EHR use and its importance; and
  • Understanding varying workflows in a multidisciplinary care team (Hall, FierceEMR, 12/22).

The researchers noted that while the study mainly focused on mitigating and preventing delirium, their research processes and takeaways “are generalizable to other health care settings and conditions.” Moreover, they said that “the creation of learning health systems is contingent on an ability to modify EHRs to meet emerging care delivery and quality improvement needs” (EDM, 12/18).

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