Electronic medical records improve diabetes care in study

Diabetics treated by doctors who use electronic medical records have better quality of care regardless of what type of insurance they have than those whose practitioners use paper records, a study showed. Patients whose doctors used electronic records were 35 percent more likely to receive care that met all standards, including timely measurements of blood sugar, pneumonia vaccinations and management of kidney problems, than those whose doctors used paper records, according to research in the New England Journal of Medicine. Transitioning U.S. physicians and hospitals to electronic health records is estimated to cost the federal government as much as $27 billion in Medicare and Medicaid incentive payments over the next decade, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The study adds to previous research showing that electronic medical records lead to more effective care, said David Blumenthal, a professor of medicine and health care policy at Harvard University Medical School in Boston. “Electronic health records, when used properly and in a sophisticated way, improve the quality and efficiency of care,” Blumenthal, past national coordinator for Health Information Technology at HHS, said in a telephone interview. He was not an author of the paper. The study involved more than 500 primary care physicians in 46 practices that are part of a collaborative known as Better Health Greater Cleveland. Researchers looked at data on 27,207 adults with diabetes from July 2009 through June 2010.


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