Robert Graham Center One-Pager: Training in Meaningful Use of EHRs Is Vital to Improving Patient Care

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, Dec. 1, 2011

Contact: Leslie Champlin
American Academy of Family Physicians
(800) 274-2237, Ext. 5224

WASHINGTON — Expanding adoption of electronic health records must be accompanied by improved training in effective use of the technology to ensure improved patient outcomes. That’s the message in a one-pager, “EHR Implementation Without Meaningful Use Can Lead to Worse Outcomes,” published in the Dec. 1 issue of American Family Physician.

The one-pager, produced by the Robert Graham Center for Policy Studies in Family Medicine and Primary Care, notes that installing EHRs alone will not improve patient outcomes and calls for strong support for training in the meaningful use of EHRs.

“Support for practices implementing these technologies will need to be coupled with practical training on how EHRs can be used to support better patient health, especially those with chronic illnesses such as diabetes mellitus,” write authors Jesse Crosson, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Family Medicine at the New Jersey Medical School, and Andrew Bazemore, MD, MPH, and Robert Phillips, Jr., MD, MSPH, assistant director and director of the Robert Graham Center respectively.

Based on Crosson’s earlier research, “Electronic Medical Records and Diabetes Quality of Care: Results From a Sample of Family Medicine Practices,” the one-pager says patients with diabetes were more than twice as likely to meet recommended targets for blood pressure, lipid and blood glucose control in practices using paper records.

Crosson’s data from several studies highlight the need to ensure that physician offices transform their practices to take advantage of the full capabilities of EHRs and other health information technologies.

“The technology itself is not the solution,” he said of his findings. “You need to do something new and better with the technology if you want to see better outcomes. We need better training for the primary care physicians and their staff in how to use EHRs to support better patient health. If you don’t give practices support, if you don’t give them training in new approaches to patient care, you won’t get a good result.”

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The Robert Graham Center for Policy Studies in Family Medicine and Primary Care conducts research and analysis that brings a family practice perspective to health policy deliberations in Washington. Founded in 1999, the center is an independent research unit working under the personnel and financial policies of the American Academy of Family Physicians.

The information and opinions contained in research from the Graham Center do not necessarily reflect the views or policy of the AAFP.

December 01, 2011