Hospitals are starting to leverage their EHR data in meaningful ways that can impact patient care and outcomes, and those with more mature systems are also seeing an added benefit: happier physicians and better teamwork. Hospitals are finding more ways to use the reams of data collected in EHRs, and that’s good for patients.
While most hospitals used their EHR data, usage varied by hospital characteristics. Small, rural, critical access, state and local government and non-teaching hospitals had the lowest rates of data use. The greatest strides in use such data between 2015 and 2017 were seen with for-profit hospitals, which averaged four new measures of EHR data use during that time.
In 2017, 94% of U.S. hospitals used their EHR data in ways that inform clinical practice, up from 87% in 2015 and equal to 2016 usage, new data released by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology show.
The most frequent use of EHR data was to support quality improvement (82%), followed by monitoring patient safety (81%) and measuring organization performance (77%). Hospitals with the capability to send, find, receive and integrate data from outside organizations were twice as likely to use their EHR data as hospitals without that degree of interoperability.
Hospitals’ use of EHR data varied by vendor. While the vast majority of hospitals with Epic, Meditech and Cerner EHRs regularly used their data for tasks that inform clinical practice, that was not the case with hospitals using other EHR products.
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