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Meaningful Use of EHRs and Health Outcomes in Schizophrenia

Electronic health record (EHR) use may have a positive influence on the process and outcomes of psychiatric care when treating patients with schizophrenia, a new study found. Researchers assessed the association between EHR use, provision of quality care, and patient outcomes. Patient outcomes included inpatient admissions and emergency department (ED) visits. Details included:

  • 18,305 providers treated 27,153 patients with schizophrenia.
  • EHR use was associated with improved rates of diabetes screening, diabetes monitoring, and better antipsychotic adherence.
  • EHR use was also associated with fewer inpatient admissions and ED visits.

Citation:

Ng-Mak D, et al. Association between meaningful use of electronic health records and patient health outcomes in schizophrenia: A retrospective database analysis. Am J Manag Care. 2019;25(9 Suppl):S159-S165.

Commentary:

In the US, the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act incentivized the use of healthcare technologies by providers and use of an electronic health record (EHR) to document clinical care delivery has been a standard in most US care systems for some time. While EHR documentation can be cumbersome and time-consuming for clinicians, it theoretically can improve care by helping care teams be able to better share information and coordinate care as well as monitor patient progress efficiently. However, the potential for EHRs to facilitate improved care for patients with schizophrenia has received limited attention. This descriptive, cross-sectional study using 3 large datasets demonstrated a significant association between meaningful provider use of the EHR and quality metrics aligned with better care for patients with schizophrenia. It is surely encouraging that “meaningful” EHR use as defined Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) seems to be indeed associated with quality clinical care. —Martha Sajatovic, MD, Professor of Psychiatry and of Neurology; Willard Brown Chair in Neurological Outcomes Research; Director, Neurological and Behavioral Outcomes Center, University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center; Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine.