Paperless benefits bode well for outpatient setting

March 6, 2009

A large-scale study that indicated health and operational benefits to hospitals that go paperless is likely applicable to outpatient settings too, according to the study's senior author.

A large-scale study that indicated health and operational benefits to hospitals that go paperless is likely applicable to outpatient settings too, according to the study's senior author.

"We do believe it would help in an outpatient setting," says Neil R. Powe, MD, an epidemiologist and professor in the Department of Epidemiology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Powe plans a follow-up study of office-based physicians. "We're just getting started on developing a measurement tool for this setting like we did with hospitals," he says.

Powe and his colleagues studied more than 160,000 patient discharges from 41 Texas hospitals that used different electronic health record systems. The hospitals with a more successfully integrated and multi-functional EHR showed a 15 percent reduction in patient mortality, as well as reductions in heart attacks, coronary bypass complications, and other health complications.