Electronic Health Records: Improving Patient Safety and Quality of Care in Texas Acute Care Hospitals

Electronic Health Records: Improving Patient Safety and Quality of Care in Texas Acute Care Hospitals

Stacy Bourgeois (University of North Carolina, Wilmington, USA) and Ulku Yaylacicegi (University of North Carolina, Wilmington, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/jhisi.2010070101
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Abstract

Electronic health records (EHRs) have been proposed as a sustainable solution for improving the quality of medical care. This study investigates how EHR use, as implemented and utilized, impacts patient safety and quality performance. Data in this paper include nonfederal acute care hospitals in the state of Texas, and the data sources include the American Hospital Association, the Dallas Fort Worth Hospital Council, and the American Hospital Directory. The authors use partial least squares modeling to assess the relationship between hospital EHR use, patient safety, and quality of care. Patient safety is measured using 11 indicators as identified by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) and quality performance is measured by 11 mortality indicators as related to 2 constructs, that is, conditions and surgical procedures. Results identify positive significant relationships between EHR use, patient safety, and quality of care with respect to procedures. The authors conclude that there is sufficient evidence of the relationship between hospital EHR use and patient safety, and that sufficient evidence exists for the support of EHR use with hospital surgical procedures.
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2. Ehrs In Healthcare

Electronic health records are defined as a longitudinal collection of electronic health information about individual patients and populations. It is ‘a mechanism for integrating health care information currently collected in both paper and electronic medical records (EMR) for the purpose of improving quality of care’ (Gunter & Terry, 2005). This may include information regarding a patient’s medical history of illnesses, digital radiology images, list of allergies, billing records, etc. Keeping medical records electronically has noted advantages over paper records, such as increased accuracy, decreased medical errors (e.g., diagnosis and prescription related fatal errors) and mortality rates, improved efficiency and productivity, lowered costs and better, safer, more equitable care by improving the exchange of health information among providers and care teams to support coordination and providing better information for joint consumer-clinician decision-making at the point of care (Baron et al., 2005; Basch, 2005; Leipold, 2007). The anticipated benefits of EHR are so vast that policy makers have called for universal EHR adoption by 2014, and current scholarly literature has given much attention to the potential improvements in quality of care by EHR implementation. Studies have predicted that EHR will help in the reduction of medication errors (Shortliffe, 1999; Thompson & Brailer, 2004; Linder et al., 2007) and in the improvement of quality of health care services (Miller & Sim, 2004; Fonkych & Taylor, 2005).

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