Using Electronic Health Records to Measure Quality of Care

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<p>The emergence of the electronic health record (EHR) has enabled health care providers to develop new indicators of quality and safety. In a new Commonwealth Fund report, a team of researchers describes the experiences of five provider organizations in developing, testing, and implementing quality-of-care indicators, based on data collected from their EHR systems.<br><br>The report, <a href="/publications/fund-reports/2008/may/performance-measures-using-electronic-health-records--five-case-studies
">Performance Measures Using Electronic Health Records: Five Case Studies</a>, examines how:<ul><li>HealthPartners, in Minneapolis, Minn., used its EHR system to compile blood pressure measurements;</li><li>Park Nicollet Health Services, also in Minneapolis, developed a composite measure for care of people with diabetes;</li><li>Billings Clinic, in Billings, Mont., tested an automatic alert on potential interactions between antibiotics and the anticoagulant warfarin;</li><li>Kaiser Permanente of the Northwest, in Portland, Ore., used a "natural language" processing tool for counseling about tobacco use; and</li><li>Geisinger Health System, in Danville, Penn., explored ways of reconciling problem lists and provider-visit notes in the case of high-impact chronic-disease diagnoses.</li></ul>"By developing appropriate indicators now, we can integrate them into evolving EHR systems early on rather than try to add them after the fact--a much more difficult task," says lead author Jinnet Briggs Fowles, Ph.D., a senior vice president at the Park Nicollet Institute. "The providers' successes in implementing their respective EHR-based quality measures demonstrates that such measures are adaptable to different EHR systems, amenable to improvement, and worth pursuing."</p>