EHR Use Results in Improved Patient Safety & Quality of Care

EHR Use Results in Improved Patient Safety & Quality of Care

  • Unified Practice
  • February 24, 2016
  • 3 Min. To Read

Improved health outcomes, better care coordination, and improved patient safety are hard to ignore. One of the biggest studies that has been done on this topic happened in 2011, where 16,352 nurses working in 316 hospitals recorded patient outcomes alongside daily procedures. The data collected was analyzed according to which of those nurses and hospitals were using EHR’s. What they found out was that using even the simplest EHR’s reduced the number of accidents and cases of negligence (see full study results here) which resulted in better treatment outcomes and higher quality patient care.

Benefits of Electronic Health Records (EHR) adoption

  • With the implementation of EHR’s in healthcare settings across the nation and across the globe, evidence base showed that there have been fewer incidences of medication errors and a reduced risk of negative drug interactions.
  • EHR’s also have the capability to support better screening for more serious health conditions and increase the awareness of a patient’s medical history to include allergies, previous procedures, major illnesses, family history and medication history.
  • This obviously allows for better continuity of care as coordination is improved between physicians and nurses, meaning that errors are less likely to happen and you are no longer relying on patient memory or thorough charting from previous practitioners. When we rely on written notes, we risk errors as a result of legibility and simple mistakes made by practitioners, nurses, pharmacists, etc. are dangerous for our patients.
  • EHR’s are also proving helpful when it comes to alerts and reminders. One of the most important features that quality EHR’s can offer is that of Clinical Decision Support, wherein the program is designed to provide practitioners with the tools and information that is necessary for improved patient safety, efficient care, and response to treatment.

If you have had any interaction with the Western medical establishment in the last 5-7 years, you have without doubt experienced some of these benefits of EHR’s. But how does this translate to acupuncture and TCM software? There is so much more potential for a high quality acupuncture software to help TCM practitioners provide the highest standard of care just as we see in Western medicine. With the right acupuncture practice management, the patient’s medical history and their previous response to treatment is right there at the touch of a button or the swipe of a screen. As an acupuncturist, with the help of such EHR programs, you can know whether or not the patient has a history of fainting, nausea, or headaches from previous sessions.

Are they needle sensitive? Did they respond really well to one approach but not another? This is important information for the lone TCM practitioner. But just imagine the implications for larger clinics with multiple practitioners who are sharing patients! With an EHR, you have an accurate, accessible, and easy to read record of patient medications and allergies. This makes it more efficient to assess the risks of herb-drug interactions, allowing you to reference and find the right herbal prescription in a shorter period of time with a reduced risk of negative or even dangerous interactions.

When I treat a patient, I want to be able to focus my time on connecting with them and healing them. Acupuncture EHR’s provide me with the opportunity to do this while simultaneously reducing any risks that may creep up while maintaining the highest standards of patient safety. You just can’t beat that kind of peace of mind!

Guest blog post by Thomas Meade.

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