EHRs can help hospitals improve Joint Commission survey results

Here's yet another benefit of implementing an electronic health record: They can help hospitals meet the Joint Commission standards for medical record keeping, according to a new article in the Oct. 6 issue of Inside the Joint Commission.

At the Joint Commission's latest Executive Briefings on hospital surveys last month, the organization reported that Standard RC 01.01.01, which requires hospitals to maintain complete and accurate medical records, historically is the most difficult standard for hospitals to meet and typically is the top most cited problem area. But this year, it dropped to seventh on the list of most cited deficiencies.

The commission attributed the significant drop at least in part to the increased use by hospitals of EHRs.

The commission noted that while hospitals have improved their compliance with RC 01.01,01, they continue to struggle with meeting the Standard's Elements of Performance (EP) 19, requiring entries to be timed, and EP 11, requiring them to be dated. The commission also reported that almost half (49 percent) of the hospitals surveyed were still tripping up on EP 8, which requires keeping the medical records updated with information that promotes continuity of care.

The Joint Commission accredits and certifies more than 20,500 healthcare entities and programs in the U.S. It holds executive briefings each year to alert providers to trouble spots that surveyors are finding so that they can address them within their own organizations.

EHRs have been found to be effective in a number of areas, from improving screening, identifying patient problems earlier and in conducting large scale research.    

To learn more:
- read the article (subscription required)