Study: Hospitals using 'advanced' EMRs see substantial benefits

The more advanced a hospital's electronic medical records system, the greater the benefit to the hospital, according to a survey of 33 hospitals that have achieved stages 6 and 7 of the EMR adoption model (EMRAM) scale, the most advanced levels of EMR use and functionality.

Hospitals that have implemented these advanced EMRs have done so with the specific purpose of improving clinical quality and patient safety and have used at least one method to measure a return on their EMR investment, according to the survey, conducted by the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society and The Advisory Board.

Nearly 80 percent of the respondents reported multiple core measures and/or safety benefits, such as reduction of adverse drug events (73 percent) and quality measures improvement in venous thromboembolism (73 percent) or stroke (70 percent).

"Hospitals with more advanced EMRs may be more able and likely to realize substantial benefits," the researchers noted.

The authors also theorized that hospitals that have little to show for their efforts, besides the high cost of implementation staffing, may have shown a lack of attention to measuring the benefits of using EMRs.

The study doesn't explicitly say that hospitals that adopt EMRs merely to attain the incentive payment and/or avoid the upcoming reimbursement penalties are less likely to achieve a measurable benefit to adoption. However, other reports have suggested that measuring an EMR's financial or clinical benefits aids in its successful adoption.

To learn more:
 - see the HIMSS announcement
 - view the full HIMSS and Advisory Board survey
 - read about the EMRAM scale