Esteemed members of Congress and other, assorted inside-the-Beltway types, pay attention. There's some rare hard data showing that EMRs truly can reduce deaths from heart disease, keep patients healthy and--get this--even save a few bucks.
This news comes from a two-year Kaiser Permanente Colorado study, reported in this month's American Journal of Managed Care. Kaiser relied on its Epic Systems EMR linking a multidisciplinary team of cardiologists, primary-care physicians, pharmacists and nurses, and added patient outreach, medication management, patient education and lifestyle coaching for 421 patients with coronary artery disease. Electronic reminders from the EMR made sure that each patient had annual lipid panels and were up-to-date on other lab work.
After two years, the death rate for study participants declined by 73 percent. A similar share of patients met their cholesterol goal, up from 26 percent at the start of the trial. The death rate from heart disease declined by 88 percent for patient who enrolled in the program within 90 days of a heart attack.