Monday, December 03, 2007

Topic review of electronic medical records

An article in the Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine offers practical tips for implementation and a review of current evidence. And what does the evidence show? Lots of appealing features, “process improvement” tools, a few unintended consequences and no consistent evidence of improvement in “outcomes that matter.” (Try getting a new drug approved with that level of evidence!).

How is the EMR as a communication tool? It depends on the system. The one at Cleveland Clinic works quite well according to the editorial. On the other hand I frequently encounter computer generated notes so cluttered with verbiage to satisfy the coders and core measure police that I can’t tell what’s really going on with the patient, let alone what the doctors are thinking.

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