Link between fewer hospitalizations and electronic medical records?

Do the Electronic media records highlight a modest reduction in diabetic people heading out to hospitals? Reports from a study confirm that after health clinics have shifted from paper to the use of electronic medical records a modest reduction has been noted in the number of people who visit emergency rooms or get admitted to hospitals because of diabetes.

Drop in ER visits and hospitalizations

There was a 5-6 % drop in the hospital admissions and Emergency room visits after the computerized records of before and after visit rates to the hospitals were maintained. The study did highlight that when the researchers checked into the frequency of the office appointments they stayed the same.

The doctors, hospitals and health care systems are encouraged by the US government to go for the electronic health record system or the EHRs and for this the Government hands out almost $30 billion all across the nation.

The research study

Mary Reed, from the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research in Oakland, California, led the study, and her team closely studied about 170,000 diabetic people who were registered for treatment at the health centers that had an affiliation with the Kaiser Permanente Northern California health system. At different times in a period from 2005-2008, the researchers noted that the clinics had shifted record keeping from the paper to the electronic media.

Mary Reed stated “For a long time we’ve recognized the potential for these systems to affect the way healthcare is delivered, and hoped they would improve the quality of care and make patients healthier.” The team is still in the process of collecting evidence to prove the same.

EMR and diabetes patients

The research team specified that diabetes patients needed constant care that was individual to a person. They said that after the set up of the electronic medical records, there was a fall in the rates of Hospital admissions and ER visits. They pointed out that the hospital admissions showed a reduction from 252 per 1000 diabetes patients to 239 per 1000 diabetes patients when electronic medical records started to be maintained.

ER records showed that out of 1000 patients suffering from diabetes nearly 519 visits were made to the Emergency every year earlier but after the shift to the electronic medical record system the amount of patients reduced to about 490 visits per year. Reed was happy about the change and said to the dailies “We were pleasantly surprised to see these reductions.”

According to Reed this computerized record maintenance system in the past researches, has shown to control cholesterol levels in patients too. Dr. Rainu Kaushal, director of the Center for Healthcare Informatics and Policy at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York , who was not a part of the research gave her viewpoint “We as a country of course are investing very significantly in EHRs, This piece provides some early evidence that that investment is judicious,” she said.

The records highlighted the importance of growth monitoring and thus helping in the diagnosis of growth disorders in children, say the researchers. The research study is written about in Journal of the American Medical Association.