Implementation of EHR not linked to outcomes for heart failure patients

A hospital’s degree of electronic health record (EHR) implementation was not associated with improved outcomes in heart failure (HF) patients, according to a study published March 30 in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

In this study, researchers examined 2008 data from the Get With The Guidelines—HF Registry to determine what effect EHRs had on quality of care and patient outcomes.

“Heart failure is the most common admission diagnosis among Medicare recipients, and readmission rates unfortunately remain high,” wrote first author Senthil Selvaraj and colleagues. “The approach to reduce HF disease burden has been multifaceted, and use of the EHR may improve the HF morbidity and mortality through improved quality of care. Whether these theoretic benefits translate into actual improvements in patient care is of vital interest from clinical, economic, and policy perspectives.”

Overall, 21,222 patients were analyzed for the study—1,484 patients were in a hospital with no EHR, 13,473 in a hospital with partial EHR and 6,265 in a full EHR hospital. Factors of 30‐day mortality, readmission and a composite outcome were evaluated in relation to EHR states.

Results showed no association between the degree of EHR implementation and quality or in-hospital outcomes.

“EHR is a tool in increasingly complex hospital infrastructures, and recent studies have shown that providers spend a substantial amount of daily workflow interacting with a more contemporary form of the EHR than studied herein,” concluded Selvaraj and colleagues. “Our findings underscore the need for improved use of EHR or refinement of its clinical decision support and algorithm construction.”