Study: Questions remain on EMR benefits

A new study by a Canadian research organization suggests that while EMRs can probably provide a patient safety boost, we still don't know enough about their impact to get the full benefits of these technologies. Despite assumptions that using EMRs improves clinical workflow--and thereby improves care quality and safety--there's little if any evidence-based outcomes research which documents this effect, researchers said.  Researchers also noted that there's a definite cultural impact on health organizations when they adopt EMRs, but that to date it hasn't been fully explored.

To conduct the study, which was backed by the University of Alberta and Canadian Health System Capital Health, the researchers looked at 135 documents touching on EMRs and patient safety, as well as interviewing Canadian stakeholders.

On its face, this study does more to document what we don't know than what we do know about the impact of EMRs on provider care patterns and patient outcomes. However, it's worth considering that the consensus view on EMRs may not be based on much solid evidence. Seems there's a need to go out and challenge some EMR assumptions a bit more.

To find out more about the study:
- read this iHealthBeat item

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