Electronic Health Records

Adoption & Implementation News

Will Hospital EHR Use Help Prevent 1 Million Heart Attacks?

By Vera Gruessner

The implementation of health IT systems as well as hospital EHR use could lead to better care and outcomes among patients with heart conditions, reports the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) in the latest HealthITBuzz.

With high blood pressure affecting as many as 67 million people across the US, hospital EHR use will be needed to reduce the risks associated with hypertension including stroke, atrial fibrillation, and heart failure. Providers may be able to help patients with high blood pressure by teaching them how to self-monitor their condition.

Since May is National High Blood Pressure Education Month, ONC and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have come together to encourage providers and other healthcare professionals to share blood pressure data and other patient health information through the integration of EHR systems within a hospital or clinic.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is also working on the Million Hearts® initiative, which is geared toward preventing one million heart attacks or strokes by 2017. Under the Medicare EHR Incentive Program, research regarding the Million Hearts® electronic clinical quality measures was submitted for public viewing in CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

The research based on the clinical quality measures shows that data reported under the meaningful use program can possibly lead to more complete and timely information necessary for tracking and analyzing public health issues.

The results from the initiative show that 36 percent of reporting providers attested to the objective requiring 70 percent or more patients effectively managing their hypertension. Nonetheless, hospital EHR use may not be enough to truly make a difference in patient care, as physicians will need to develop patient-centered coordinated care strategies and implement the sharing of data through certified EHR technology.

With both coordinated care efforts and hospital EHR use on the rise, providers will be better able to control patient blood pressures and prevent heart failures and disabilities among their consumers.

Storing electronic health information and using data analytics to track hypertension trends and other patient health criteria can lead to more progress and quality improvements among the healthcare sector. The data collected through the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs could play a key role in tracking success in the national goal of preventing one million heart attacks and strokes by 2017, ONC reports.

Clinical quality measures data can also be used to help physicians find the right treatments or diagnostics for chronically ill patients and better coordinate care among these populations. Additionally, greater EHR interoperability will be key in ensuring that all data is shared efficiently among specialists, primary care doctors, and public health agencies.

“Despite the recent advancements and investments in health IT infrastructure, significant work lies ahead in order to reach the goal of ensuring that the right information arrives in the right format at the right place and time —and ultimately, that the data drive tangible improvements in care and value,” a report from the Workgroup for Electronic Data Interchange (WEDI) stated.

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