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EHR System Increases Quality Care

Written by Kaitlyn Houseman | October 24, 2012

Study from the Journal of General Internal Medicine Finds Higher Care Quality Linked with EHR Use

Having trouble making up your mind about EHRs? In a new study published by the Journal of General Internal Medicine (JGIM), providers' use of EHRs was shown to lead to significantly higher care quality scores for certain health conditions compared to scores from providers using paper records. The study looked at the association between EHRs and ambulatory quality in a community-based setting, finding that EHR use led to:

  • Increased appropriate hemoglobin A1c testing for patients with diabetes;
  • Greater provider success in meeting quality measures for breast cancer screening;
  • More providers meeting quality measures for chlamydia screening; and
  • Increased number of providers meeting quality measures for colorectal cancer screening.
The study examined 2008 data, and looked at 262 physicians using paper charts and 204 physicians using EHRs, including information from 74,618 patients.

Register now for the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs so that you can receive an incentive payment. Visit the EHR Incentive Programs for more information.

EHR Vendor Market Is A Crowded Place

Three-hundred-and-thirty-three vendors of complete EHRs for ambulatory care have battled for market share and had at least one customer attest to having met the meaningful-use criteria under the Medicare EHR incentive payment program, according to a federal database.

Such a wide variety of choices makes the task of finding and selecting the right system a struggle for the practitioners, too.

"Really, what I need is just somebody to tell me what I need to get," said Dr. Terri Strassburger, who is retired from her own practice but manages a two-physician pulmonary and critical-care office-based practice in Alexandria, Va., for her husband and his partner. Her duties include helping them pick an EHR system.


By waiting a bit to enter the fray, Strassburger and her husband can avail themselves to data on what has worked for others. Some of that is data about their peers who have used various EHR systems to meet the Meaningful Use goals established through the Medicare EHR incentive payment program. The information can be gleaned from a database that is a mix of CMS statistics on attested meaningful users and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information official list of certified EHR systems.

According to the federal data, from April 2011 through August of this year, 90,295 physicians and other eligible professionals working in ambulatory care have used complete EHRs to attest to having met the Medicare meaningful-use criteria. (Data from the Medicaid EHR incentive programs is not yet available from the states.)