EMRs have not vastly improved quality measures, study finds

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Hospitals that use electronic medical records have not seen improvement in certain standard quality measures, according to a study published by Rand Corp.

Rand's study evaluated data regarding EMR capability collected between 2003 and 2006, as well as publicly reported hospital quality data between 2004 and 2007, according to The Wall Street Journal. Scores for heart failure improved more in hospitals using basic EMR systems. But the same relationship wasn't seen between basic EMRs and pneumonia or heart-attack quality scores. Also, quality improvements between hospitals with advanced EMRs and those with basic EMRs were smaller than facilities with no EMR systems. The impact of EMRs on quality is coming under the microscope as more health facilities, including nursing homes, use EMRs.

Implementing an EMR system in the middle of a complicated healthcare system can result in numerous unexpected consequences, experts explained. They also said that trying to do too many things at once, such as implementing an EMR and trying to improve standard quality measures, can take a long time to work out, the paper reported.

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