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Improving Patient Care With Electronic Health Records (EHRs)

Studies have shown the benefits received by nurses when electronic health records are implemented by hospitals. Such systems generally improve nursing documentation, reduce the number of medication errors, and improve the sense of satisfaction nurses have in the work environments. A recent study found that nurses who work in an environment with a fully implemented EHR are less likely to report poor patient safety compared to their peers working in environments without EHRs.

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Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania surveyed 16,362 nurses working in 316 hospitals in four states, including Pennsylvania, New Jersey, California and Florida. The researches asked nurses about their patient outcomes and workload, as well as the patient safety of their hospital culture utilizing items from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) Hospital Survey on Patient Safety Culture. Only 7 percent of the 316 hospitals had a basic HER system functioning on all patient care units.

The nurses at hospitals with EHRs were notably less likely to report negative outcomes compared to nurses working in hospitals without implemented EHRs. Fewer nurses reported medication errors, poor confidence in a patient being prepared for discharge, and poor patient quality at fully implemented hospitals. There was also a 14 percent decrease in the odds of reporting things that “fell between the cracks” during patient transfer. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (HS18534) supported the study in part.

Want to improve your patient safety? Are you ready to reap the benefits of EHR use? Contact EHR Funding today at 866-203-3260. We would be glad to assist you and answer any questions you have about how your practice can qualify for government assistance.

(Source: Electronic health records improve nursing care, coordination, and patient safety: Research Activities, May 2012, No. 381. May 2012. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. )

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