Using Electronic Health Records to Improve Quality and Efficiency
The Experiences of Leading Hospitals
An examination of nine hospitals that recently implemented a comprehensive electronic health record (EHR) system finds that clinical and administrative leaders built EHR adoption into their strategic plans to integrate inpatient and outpatient care and provide a continuum of coordinated services. Successful implementation depended on: strong leadership, full involvement of clinical staff in design and implementation, mandatory staff training, and strict adherence to timeline and budget. The EHR systems facilitate patient safety and quality improvement through: use of checklists, alerts, and predictive tools; embedded clinical guidelines that promote standardized, evidence-based practices; electronic prescribing and test-ordering that reduces errors and redundancy; and discrete data fields that foster use of performance dashboards and compliance reports. Faster, more accurate communication and streamlined processes have led to improved patient flow, fewer duplicative tests, faster responses to patient inquiries, redeployment of transcription and claims staff, more complete capture of charges, and federal incentive payments.