Study: EHRs Improve Management of Warfarin Therapy

Warfarin TherapyDischarge summaries transcribed by a capable medical transcription service company contain a complete list of medications and discharge diagnoses which are crucial for continuity of care. Science Daily recently reported that according to a new study, electronic health records (EHRs) could improve care for patients on warfarin after they leave the hospital. Researchers found that a medical clinic that used an EHR which generates a comprehensive health summary for each admitted patient, managed the anti-coagulation therapy more effectively.

A widely used anticoagulant, warfarin helps prevent blood clots, heart attack and stroke. As the drug requires careful monitoring and possibly adjustments of dosing, patients are required to have regular blood tests to ascertain that their dose is correct. If not managed carefully, warfarin therapy can have adverse effects, leading to emergency hospitalizations. EHRs can help reduce such issues, say researchers.

The study evaluated the response to an electronic “Outpatient Warfarin Management Order” record designed for a family medicine clinic. This new system replaced the paper form based warfarin management plans that the physicians gave their patients. The paper based plan was confusing for patients and their community healthcare providers as the dosing could change frequently. The researchers found that:

  • the electronic discharge summary is valuable tool to inform patients, physicians and pharmacists about the key elements needed to manage warfarin therapy
  • the record coordinates communication to pharmacy services for any dosage updates
  • the proportion of discharge charts that included key elements for discharging patients on warfarin doubled after the EHR intervention
  • 61 percent of the physicians and pharmacists who took part in the survey found the new warfarin order user friendly and accessible

The clinic’s medical director says that the study highlights the potential value of the EHR in managing warfarin or anti coagulation therapy between outpatient and inpatient settings and across multiple providers. The intervention also eased the transition of care to referring community healthcare providers and promoted collaborative care with pharmacies.

Accurate discharge summaries can decrease readmissions and adverse events. This study suggests that EHRs have improved the potential of discharge summaries to improve the continuity of care. In today’s healthcare scenario, medical transcription outsourcing plays an important role in ensuring complete, accurate and timely EHR-integrated discharge summaries. Of course, outsourcing to an experienced medical transcription company is crucial to ensure quality documentation that will improve the continuity of care.