AHRQ-Funded Study Identifies Challenges of Using Data From Electronic Health Records for Quality Improvement
Electronic health record (EHR) systems need refinements in several areas to support quality improvement initiatives in primary care practices, according to a new AHRQ-funded study in Health Affairs. The authors represented several grantees of AHRQ’s EvidenceNOW initiative, a project developed to help primary care practices improve the delivery of services proven to prevent heart attacks and strokes. Authors studied nearly 1,500 small and medium-sized primary care practices between May 2015 and April 2017. They found that EHR reports were often not customizable for appropriate time periods, were restricted to specific patient populations (e.g., Medicare or Medicaid) or required extra fees by the vendor to create the necessary functionality. Practices owned by hospitals or health systems were more likely to be able to generate useful quality reports than solo or small practices, especially in rural areas. The authors concluded that significant additional investments are needed to ensure health information technology can be used to improve care and support new value-based payment initiatives. Access the abstract.