Docs using EMRs more compliant in image reviews

Electronic medical records improved physician compliance for the review of portal images, according to a study published this week in the Journal of the American College of Radiology. The findings demonstrate that review of portal images--which verify a patient's positioning for imaging treatments like X-rays--should be the norm, study co-author Andre Konski, M.D., said in a statement.

The study examined reviews for 411 portal images, about half of which were conducted through an EMR, and half of which were performed manually, via radiographic film or printouts. For the images reviewed via EMR, 1 percent (2 out of 207) incurred violations (unsigned films, no date documented when signed by an attending physician, etc.), while 25 percent of images reviewed by hand (51 of 204) incurred violations.

"The only violation incurred with checking portal images on the EMR was having images checked after more than one business day," the authors wrote, according to a draft of the study obtained by FierceHealthIT.

EMRs gave physicians the ability to check portal images remotely, Konski and his colleagues added, which helped lead to timelier checks.

"One of the potential problems of checking portal images on radiographic film is it was possible for radiographic films to be placed in the wrong location … hampering the timely review by an attending physician," the authors wrote.

Recent research has shown that EMR use not only helps to reduce malpractice claims, but it also can improve safety and reduce stress, as long as the technology is implemented correctly. A recent survey of doctors conducted by The Little Blue Book, however, found that 34 percent of respondents believed that EMRs would lead to a deterioration of the quality of patient care.

To learn more:
- here's the JACR abstract
- check out the accompanying announcement