New EHR software helps manage patients with aging brain disorders

Researchers at Indiana University's Regenstrief Institute have developed new electronic health record software that provides more personalized healthcare for older patients suffering from aging brain disorders such as Alzheimer's and depression.

A study on the software, reported in eGems (Generating Evidence & Methods to Improve Patient Outcomes) and called "enhanced medical record for aging brain care (eMR-ABC)," is an automated decision support system geared to facilitate the management of this vulnerable, high-risk population. It monitors the cognitive, functional, behavioral and psychological systems of a registry of patients, as well as the burdens on the patients' family caregivers. It provides clinical decision support, such as medication alerts, care coordination, and personalized care plans. It also tracks patient visits and creates population health reports.

The developers noted that EHRs will become increasingly important in dealing with patients' with complex needs, especially as the healthcare industry moves from volume-based to value-based care.   

"Our software is sufficiently agile to allow tracking of individual patient health outcomes while remaining broad enough in its perspective to follow the status of an entire patient population with key quality, health, and cost metrics," the developers noted. "We believe that these characteristics are the central features that will distinguish electronic health records as they successfully manage population health in our evolving health care environment."

Other studies have flagged the benefits of using EHRs to treat the aging population, such as for diabetes care and for reducing fractures.

"The number of older adults is growing rapidly," Regenstrief Institute investigator and senior study author Malaz Boustani, said in an accompanying announcement. "Delivering personalized care to this population is difficult and requires the ability to track a large number of mental and physical indicators."

To learn more:
- read the announcement
- here's the case study (.pdf)