EHR use may not correlate with higher quality

Although meeting the Stage 1 standards for Meaningful Use created a measurable quality increase in treatment of acute myocardial infarction, heart failure, and pneumonia, hospitals that used EHR systems with higher levels of functionality had a small decrease of quality, according to a study in the Journal of Health Service Research.

For the study, researchers examined data from Hospital Compare, Health Information and Management Systems Society Analytics, and Inpatient Prospective Payment System (hospital characteristics) for 2006–2010.  They found that hospitals that implemented EHRs that met Stage 1 requirements for Meaningful use showed a small increase in quality scores for treating heart attack, heart failure, and pneumonia, while hospitals who used more functionality than this showed a small decrease in quality in treating these conditions.  Stage 1 requirements include clinical data repositories, nursing documentation, electronic medication administration records, and clinical decision support; functionality including computer order entry is considered higher functionality for this study.

The authors conclude that EHR use will not automatically correlate with higher quality.

(Sources: Patient Safety Monitor, http://blogs.hcpro.com/patientsafety, August 29, 2012; InformationWeek Healthcare, http://www.informationweek.com, August 23, 2012; Journal of Health Service Research, August 2012)