EHRs can improve treatment of patients with neurological disorders

Electronic health records can be used to advance the care of patients with neurological disorders, according to a study published in Neurology Clinical Practice, a medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

Many neurologists, according to the study, don't use EHRs and have limited capability for data sharing. The researchers, from Evanston, Illinois-based NorthShore University HealthSystem, created a quality improvement and practice-based initiative in neurology using their EHR, focusing on 10 neurological disorders, such as brain tumors, epilepsy, migraine, Parkinson's disease and restless leg syndrome.

The researchers took several steps, such as creating:

  • Structured clinical document support and data capture
  • Enrollment reports
  • Data quality reports
  • Descriptive reports
  • Quality improvement projects and dashboards

They also are working on clinical decision support, creation of a neurology practice-based research network and biobanking. They found that the initiative is showing promise.

"The American Academy of Neurology has proposed quality measures, but they have not been incorporated into electronic medical records by vendors," the authors wrote. "Traditional clinical trials enroll selected patients, use surrogate measures, follow patients for short periods, and generalize poorly to clinical practice. Data captured in the EMR could be used to identify eligible patients, assign treatments, and measure outcomes at the point of care."

The study authors also provided tips to promote buy-in and collaboration from clinicians in neurology.

Other studies have found that harnessing the data and functionality of EHRs can provide better patient care, such as identifying patients at higher risk or potential diagnostic errors. However, since they can also contribute to errors, it has been suggested that they be redesigned to reduce that risk.

To learn more:
- here's the study