AHRQ awards $1M grant to create smarter EHR systems

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality has awarded the Oregon Health & Science University $1 million to better organize patient information in electronic health records systems.

EHRs often contain unnecessary or excessive information that "clutters the 'big picture' of patient care" and increases risk to patients, according to OHSU's announcement. OHSU will develop a simulation environment based on real intensive care unit cases and cutting edge technology to test EHR use and see how providers interact with the "considerable" amount of data. Using simulation will also train providers how to use the EHRs better.

"In the past, all patient data was hand written, making it easier to remember and learn," said Jeffrey Gold, M.D., professor of Medicine at OHSU and past director of the ICU, who will be the principal investigator on the grant.  "Electronic records are no doubt a useful tool in many ways, but now there are so much data in front of you that often you can't see the forest for the trees."

AHRQ, part of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, has invested over $300 million in contracts and grants to address its health IT initiatives. A number of projects funded relate to improvement of EHRs and patient care, including programs on clinical decision support, quality measurement enabled by health IT and electronic prescribing.  

To learn more:
- here's the announcement
- read about AHRQ's health IT initiatives
- learn about AHRQ's EHR projects