EHRs improve care given to diabetics

Type 2 diabetic patients being treated by doctors who use electronic health records are more likely to receive "optimal care" for their condition, according to a recent study published in Health Services Research. The researchers studied the care of 14,051 adult diabetic patients seen at 34 primary care practices.

Of those, 6,376 patients' physicians used an EHR. Those patients enjoyed better outcomes--including positive improvement in blood pressure, aspirin prescriptions, and smoking cessation--than patients whose doctors did not use an EHR.

Specifically, reminder features of the EHR, as well as better documentation, were key to the improved results, study co-author Jeph Herrin, Ph.D., of Yale University, noted.

Endocrinologist Spyros Mezitis of New York-based Lenox Hill Hospital, told Health Behavior News Service, however, that enthusiasm regarding the study's results should be tempered, considering two outcome measures--lipid control and a blood sugar measurement--did not show significant improvement.

"This study showed mixed results," he said. "There is much room for improvement."

To learn more:
- here's an abstract of the study
- check out this article