'Sophisticated' EHR use by docs boosts preventive care rates for women

Women whose healthcare providers use electronic health records are more likely to receive preventive care, according to a study published this week in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association. What's more, more sophisticated use of such tools also led to an increase in preventive care.

For the study, researchers examined provider responses to 16 questions within the 2007-08 National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey. The researchers, led by Namita Tundia of the University of Cincinnati, found that 29 percent of provider surveyed had no EHR system; 49 percent had a minimal system; close to 16 percent had a basic system; and just over 5 percent had a fully functional system. Correlating breast exam rates for those providers were as follows:

  • 20 percent for providers with no EHR;
  • Roughly 35 percent for providers with a minimal EHR;
  • 37 percent for providers with a basic EHR;
  • Nearly 45 percent for providers with a fully functional EHR.

"Given the positive results of this study, specialists in women's health should consider investing in more sophisticated systems," the researchers wrote.

Prior studies have shown similar correlations. For instance, research published in July in the Annals of Family Medicine found that patients who used interactive personal health records to be twice as likely to be up to date on preventive screenings such as mammograms and colonoscopies.

Meanwhile, a study published in JAMIA in August determined that New York City doctors who used EHRs showed significant improvements on eight of 10 preventive care indicators, InformationWeek Healthcare reported.

To learn more:
- here's the JAMIA abstract
- check out the InformationWeek Healthcare article