Doctors suggest ways to improve EHRs

May 26, 2011

A newly published study by Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) researchers may lead to electronic health record (EHR) system improvements that facilitate your ability to follow up on your patients? abnormal test results?if vendors heed the findings.

 

A newly published study by Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) researchers may lead to electronic health record (EHR) system improvements that facilitate your ability to follow up on your patients’ abnormal test results-if vendors heed the findings.

Sylvia J. Hysong, PhD, with the VA in Houston, and colleagues conducted a qualitative study with 44 full-time primary care providers, radiology personnel, laboratory workers, and information technology employees from two different facilities. They were divided into six focus groups, where they talked about what enables and prevents their use of EHR technology. They also made recommendations of what would help them manage and follow up on notifications related to abnormal tests. The investigators asked participants to think about technology-related issues as well organizational, human resources, and workflow issues.

Focus group participants said they receive many alerts-several of which may be unnecessary-that contain information that is not related to abnormal test results. Some participants expressed difficulty in using certain EHR features that would enable them to manage their alerts more efficiently. Participants said that their ability to follow up on abnormal test results would be improved if EHR manufacturers would improve display and tracking processes for critical alerts, redesign the clinical workflow, and streamline test result notification.

The researchers reported their results in BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making.