EHR use correlates with predicted, reduced mortality

Hospitals with greater electronic health record capabilities can better predict and decrease mortality rates, according to a new study published by HIMSS Analytics.

The researchers used data from more than 4,500 acute-care facilities on 32 different procedures and condition-based clinical groups. Mortality was evaluated as an outcome in 19 of them, such as stroke, pulmonary embolism and pneumonia.  

They then determined a predicted mortality rate and compared it to the actual mortality rate to see if a hospital performed better or worse than expected, and then compared it to each hospital's level of EHR adoption, using HIMSS' Electronic Medical Record Adoption Model (EMRAM).

They found that hospitals using a more advanced EHR predicted morality rates for most conditions better. 

"The robustness of the databases used sets a standard by which future research re the effectiveness of the EMR should be compared against," Lorren Pettit, vice president of market research for HIMSS Analytics told FierceEMR. "[This study] should quell the criticisms that the EMR is not worth the investment [and] supports the push by the federal government that there is a value in EMRs."

The authors also found decreased actual mortality rates for several conditions, most notably heart attack, respiratory failure and small intestine surgery. They suggested that other forces, such as organization culture and process issues, could impact patient outcomes regardless of the level of EHR capability.

"It adds evidence to the argument that EMRs are now a required basic tool set for healthcare organizations, and that having an EMR forms a foundation that improved care models and enhanced performance can be built upon," Richard Skinner CIO/CTO University of Virginia Health System told FierceEMR.

To learn more:
- download the study