Primary care physicians with electronic health records were able to identify patients who needed preventative or follow-up care 30 times faster than physicians using paper based medical records, according to a recently published study commissioned by the Canadian Health Infoway, an independent not-for-profit organization funded by the federal government to help accelerate the development and adoption of information and communications technology projects in Canada.
The researchers challenged physicians in five provinces to review their records to identify patients who would benefit from six types of evidence-based interventions: immunizations, follow up after a heart attack, cancer screening, diabetes management, and two medication recalls.
The practices using EHRs conducted a full review in an average of 1.4 hours. The paper based practices of about the same size reviewed only 10 percent of their records in 3.9 hours, which means it would have taken them about 40 hours to conduct a full review. The physicians using EHRs also were more confident in the accuracy of the reviews.
"Using an electronic medical record gives me the peace of mind of knowing I can more quickly identify patients who would benefit from immunizations or other preventive care, as well as those who might be impacted by events such as a medication recall," said Dr. Michael Golbey, Family Physician and Chair of Canada Health Infoway's Clinical Council.