Do Electronic Health Records Improve Diabetes Care?

EHR Improve Diabetes CareWith 1.4 million Americans diagnosed with diabetes every year, many endocrinology practices in the U.S. depend on electronic health record (EHR) integrated medical transcription services to manage the heavy influx of patients with this chronic condition. But do EHRs improve diabetes care? Has the shift from paper-based records to electronic made a difference to the treatment of diabetes? Healthcare experts are closely monitoring the situation to find the answers to these questions.

The battle against diabetes got a big boost when the World Health Organization declared “Beat Diabetes” as the theme of World Health Day 2016. According to HealthIT electronic health records (EHRs) do improve the quality of health care and outcomes for patients with diabetes. This portal for the Office of the National Coordination for Health Information Technology lists many EHR benefits for physicians managing diabetic patients:

  • Allows generation and meaningful use of lists of patients with diabetes for health care quality improvement, research, and individual outreach
  • Provides reminders on preventive care, screenings, or immunizations
  • Enables better communication with patients and allows physicians to educate them about self-management techniques
  • Generates “patient report cards” so that patients can better engage in and coordinate their care
  • Allows monitoring of the trends of diabetes-related tests over time, thereby enhancing clinicians’ decision-making capabilities
  • Improves better management of prescriptions for patients with diabetes

A 2011 study out of Cleveland, Ohio supported this. Following an analysis of the medical records of more than 27,000 adults who received care for diabetes at clinics in the Cleveland area, the researchers found that people got treated at clinics implemented electronic medical records (EMRs) were more likely to have received care that met four clinical benchmarks, which require that patients undergo eye examinations, get a pneumococcal vaccination, get support to manage kidney health, and receive help to track HbA1c for monitoring blood sugar control.

It was also found that patients got better help to manage their personal health, such as specific ranges for blood pressure, cholesterol, and weight at EMR-equipped clinics. The researchers concluded there were remarkable differences between results at clinics that had adopted electronic records and those that had not.

More recent studies which presented their findings in 2016 determined that effective use of EHR for diabetes management depended also on factors such as:

  • the organizational support and environment to support the transition to EHRs
  • the extent of team cohesion

In addition to storing comprehensive data about the patient, EHRs should help physicians simplify and automate clinical workflow and importantly, avoid medical errors. Meaningful use of EHRs is crucial to provide better care for patients with diabetes, improve the quality of health care and enhance patient outcomes. Experienced US based medical transcription companies provide timely and accurate EHR-integrated endocrinology medical transcription services to help physicians meet these goals.