Access to the electronic health record (EHR) in acute care situations may influence the care given to that patient, and in some cases, failure to review the EHR could have an adverse effect.
For the study, researchers looked at 2,000 head CT scans that had been ordered by emergency department physicians. The researchers, neuroradiologists at Froedtert & the Medical College at Froedtert Hospital in Milwaukee, compared the medical information generated by the ED physicians to the additional information retrieved by interpreting radiologists who had access to EHR patient data. The additional data, found in the EHR for 49.3 percent of the head CT exams., had a significant impact on the interpretations of the head CT scans.
In 22 percent of the cases, the additional information “possibly” had a significant impact on the interpretation of the head CT. In 9.0 percent of the head CT cases, the neuroradiologists said that the additional clinical data derived from the EHR was “very likely” to influence radiological interpretations. Nine percent of the cases would have had the adverse affect had the EHR data not been available, the researchers said.
"This study exemplifies the power of EHR's and their potential impact on patient care and positive outcomes. Health care providers must recognize the value of implementing EHR's and foster their widespread adoption," "The federal government has made a significant investment in the adoption of these systems, particularly with the challenges of expanding remote access to high-quality care,” stated John L. Ulmer, M.D., professor of radiology and chief of neuroradiology at the Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW) and corresponding author of the study.
The study appears in the recent issue of Health Affairs.