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EHRs improve quality of clinical notes: Study

November 11, 2014
by Richard R. Rogoski
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The controversy surrounding the ultimate effectiveness of electronic health records (EHRs) got more fodder from a recent study showing that EHRs can improve the quality of clincial notes.

The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association, looked at clinical notes pertaining to Type 2 diabetes written by physicians six months before and six months after the adoption of an EHR, as well as the way physicians wrote the clincial notes five years after EHR implementation.

Researchers from the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences found that clinical notes showed significant improvement during the five years after an EHR was implemented. Some of the greatest improvements were found in notes covering family and social histories, medical histories, chief complaints and review of systems.

"The introduction of the EHR significantly improved the quality of the outpatient clinical notes," the researchers noted. "All the element and grand mean quality scores significantly improved, some within six months and all by the end of five years. This suggests that it took the physicians some time to learn how to effectively use the capabilities of the EHR and that its structural design caused them to write more detailed and comprehensive notes."