EHRs Can Facilitate Rapid Detection and Treatment of Sepsis

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Faheem Guirgis MD  Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine Department of Emergency Medicine Division of Research UF Health Jacksonville

Dr. Guirgis

Faheem Guirgis MD
Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine
Department of Emergency Medicine
Division of Research
UF Health Jacksonville

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Sepsis is quite prevalent among hospitals and the incidence is increasing. It is a life-threatening disease that can lead to poor outcomes if patients are not recognized and treated promptly. We recognized that our institution needed a strategic approach to the problem of sepsis, therefore the Sepsis Committee was created with the goal of creating a comprehensive sepsis program.

We developed a system for sepsis recognition and rapid care delivery that would work in any area of the hospital. We found that we reduced overall mortality from sepsis, the number of patients requiring mechanical ventilation, intensive care unit length and overall hospital length of stay, and the charges to the patient by approximately $7000 per patient.

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Is Trust in Mental Health Clinicians Affected Among Patients Who Access Clinical Notes Online?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Steven K. Dobscha, M.D. Professor, Department of Psychiatry, OHSU Director, VAPORHCS Center to Improve Veteran Involvement in Care Oregon Health & Science University

Dr. Dobscha

Steven K. Dobscha, M.D.
Professor, Department of Psychiatry, OHSU
Director, VAPORHCS Center to Improve Veteran Involvement in Care
Oregon Health & Science University

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? 

Response: Several health care systems across the United States now offer patients online access to all of their clinical notes (sometimes referred to as progress notes) through electronic health record portals; this type of access has been referred to as OpenNotes (see www.opennotes.org for more information on the national OpenNotes initiative). Veterans have been able to use OpenNotes in the Veterans Health Care (VHA) system since 2013. However, some individuals have expressed concern that online access to clinical notes related to mental health could cause some patient harms.

We are conducting a VA-funded research project with several objectives:
1) to examine benefits and unintended negative consequences of OpenNotes use as perceived by veterans receiving VHA mental health care and by VHA mental health clinicians, and
2) to develop and evaluate brief web-based courses designed to help veterans and clinicians use OpenNotes in ways that optimize Veteran-clinician collaboration and minimize unintended consequences.

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Familial Hypercholesterolemia Diagnosed Through EHR and Genetics Data

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Michael F. Murray MD Geisinger Health System Danville, PA 17822

Dr. Michael Murray

Michael F. Murray MD
Geisinger Health System
Danville, PA 17822

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: The DiscovEHR cohort was formed as a result of a research collaboration between Geisinger Health System and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals. There are over 50,000 patient participants in the cohort who have volunteered to have their de-identified genomic sequence data linked to their de-identified EHR data for research purposes. We report in this paper findings around the identification of 229 individuals (1:256) with pathogenic or likely pathogenic variants in one of the three genes (LDLR, APOB, PCSK9) associated with Familial Hypercholesterolemia (FH). The study found that these individuals are unlikely to carry a diagnosis of FH and are at risk for early coronary artery disease.

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Patients Prefer Online Portal To Receive Skin Biopsy Results

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

sophia-akhiyatSophia Akhiyat
M.D. Candidate, Class of 2017
The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences
METEOR Fellowship

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Our study was inspired by one of Choudhry et al,1 in which patients’ preferences for skin biopsy result disclosure was surveyed at melanoma clinics affiliated with several academic institutions. We sought to broaden participant inclusion criteria by evaluating patients’ preferences at a general dermatology clinic at an academic center.

Our findings support that the highest ranked patient-preferred method for receiving skin biopsy results was through an online portal. Patients also reported that the most important factors when selecting a modality for communication were the amount of information given and time available to discuss results. We also observed a relationship between a younger patient age range and online portal experience as well as a preference for biopsy notification via online portal.

1Choudhry A, Hong J, Chong K, et al. Patients’ Preferences for Biopsy Result Notification in an Era of Electronic Messaging Methods. JAMA Dermatol. 2015;151(5):513-521.

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Default Settings in Electronic Records Can Facilitate Over-Prescribing

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Jashvant Poeran MD PhD Assistant Professor Dept. of Population Health Science & Policy Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai New York, NY

Dr. Jashvant Poeran

Jashvant Poeran MD PhD
Assistant Professor
Dept. of Population Health Science & Policy
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
New York, NY

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Falls are an important patient safety issue among elderly patients and may lead to extended hospitalization and patient harm. Particularly important in elderly patients are high risk drugs such as sleep medications which are known to increase fall risk and should be dosed lower in elderly patients.

In this study we looked at patients aged 65 years or older who fell during hospitalization. We found that in 62%, patients had been given at least one high risk medication that was linked to fall risk, within 24 hours before their fall. Interestingly, we found that also a substantial proportion of these medications were given at doses higher than generally recommended for elderly patients.

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Electronic Records Overwhelm Primary Care Physicians With Messages

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Daniel R. Murphy MD MBA Assistant Professor - Interim Director of GIM at Baylor Clinic Department of Medicine Health Svc Research & General Internal Medicine Baylor College of Medicine Houston, TX, US

Dr. Daniel Murphy

Daniel R. Murphy MD MBA
Assistant Professor – Interim Director of GIM at Baylor Clinic
Department of Medicine
Health Svc Research & General Internal Medicine
Baylor College of Medicine
Houston, TX, US

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Murphy: Electronic health records (EHRs) have enabled a large number of messages to be transmitted to physicians each day, including new types of messages that were not present in the pre-EHR era. Lack of support and policies to assist physicians with this workload creates opportunities for important information, such as abnormal tests results, to be missed among the vast amount of other information. We found that primary care physicians (PCPs) at three clinics using commercial EHRs received an average of 77 messages per day, of which only about 20% were test results. Specialists received an average of 29 total messages per day. Extrapolating time needed to process these messages from prior work suggests that PCPs would require an average of 67 minutes per day to process these messages.

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Online Health Portals Linked To Better Adherence To Preventive Care

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Shayna L. Henry, PhD Postdoctoral Research Fellow Department of Research & Evaluation Kaiser Permanente Southern California

Dr. Shayna Henry

Shayna L. Henry, PhD
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Department of Research & Evaluation
Kaiser Permanente Southern California

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Henry: In this study, we analyzed the electronic health records of 838,638 Kaiser Permanente members in Southern California. We decided to conduct this study because Kaiser Permanente always strives to advance standards of excellence for care, and even with all the outreach resources available to health care providers and staff, gaps in preventive care still arise. It can be hard to get patients engaged in managing their preventive care, because there are so many tasks for them to keep track of – many of which don’t happen on a very regular basis. Online patient portals have been very useful at helping patients get more engaged in their care, but patients still have to make the first move, and put all the pieces together. Our tool, the Online Personal Action Plan (oPAP), puts our members’ health status and preventive and chronic care tasks in a single dashboard, and alerts them via email to their upcoming care needs, prompting them to log in, view their upcoming health care tasks such as annual vaccinations, tests and blood draws for chronic conditions, and routine cancer screenings, and make the necessary medical appointments to close those gaps in care. We wanted to better understand if having access to the oPAP tools was associated with a higher likelihood of taking care of those outstanding health care tasks in a timely manner.

We found that members who used oPAP were more likely to get a mammogram, Pap smear, receive colorectal cancer screenings, and more likely to complete HbA1c testing for diabetes within 90 days of their coming due compared to members who were not registered on our patient portal.   Continue reading

Fully Integrated Electronic Records Linked to Fewer Inpatient Adverse Effects

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Mr. Noel Eldridge Center for Quality Improvement and Patient Safety Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality

Mr. Noel Eldridge

Mr. Noel Eldridge
Center for Quality Improvement and Patient Safety
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Mr. Eldridge: We used existing data on adverse events from the Medicare Patient Safety Monitoring System, which AHRQ, CMS, and Qualidigm have been analyzing for years, and focused on the question as to whether rates of the adverse event measures were higher or lower in patients whose charts indicated that they had been treated with a full electronic health record (EHR) or a partial EHR during their inpatient stay.

The main finding was that the adverse event rates were lower in the full EHR patients. We saw three different diagnosis groups of patients (cardiovascular, pneumonia, and major surgery), and looked at combined rates for all adverse event types, as well as for four combined subtypes separately: hospital-acquired infections, adverse drug events, post-procedural events, and falls and pressure ulcers combined. Not all of our findings were what people unfamiliar with our measures would have expected.

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Electronic Messages Improved Timeliness of Cancer Diagnosis

Hardeep Singh, MD MPH Chief, Health Policy, Quality and Informatics Program, Houston Veterans Affairs Health Services Research Center for Innovations Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center and Baylor College of Medicine Houston TX 77030
MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Hardeep Singh, MD MPH
Chief, Health Policy, Quality and Informatics Program,
Houston Veterans Affairs Health Services Research Center for Innovations
Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center and
Baylor College of Medicine
Houston TX 77030

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Singh: Missed or delayed diagnoses are among the most common patient safety concerns in outpatient settings, and measuring and reducing them is a high priority. Our computerized triggers scanned huge amounts of patient data in the electronic health record and flagged individuals at risk for delays in follow-up of cancer-related abnormal clinical findings.  Records of all patients flagged by the computerized trigger algorithm in the intervention group were reviewed to determine the presence of delay and if delay was confirmed, we communicated this information to their clinicians. We found that patients seeing clinicians who were notified of potential delays had more timely diagnostic evaluation for both prostate and colon cancer and more patients in the intervention part of the study had received diagnostic evaluation by the time we completed our final review.

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Do Electronic Records Cause Patients To Withhold Information From Their Doctors?

MedicalResearch.com Interview
Celeste Campos-Castillo PhD
Assistant Professor
Department of Sociology
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Campos-Castillo: Approximately 13% of adults in the U.S. have held back information from doctors out of privacy or security concerns. When we compare adults with the same characteristics (e.g., age and education, overall health, and health care characteristics like having insurance and seeing a doctor in the past year) based on whether their doctor uses an electronic health record (EHR) system or not, we find that those with a doctor that uses an electronic health record were more likely to hold back information than those whose doctor does not use an electronic health record.

Other studies have looked at whether electronic health records are related to withholding information out of privacy concerns, but the evidence was mixed: sometimes patients with EHRs were more likely to hold back information from doctors, other times there but sometimes there was no difference in withholding between patients of doctors who used EHRs and those who did not.

What makes our study unique is that we consider a range of factors in the analysis that can disguise the real relationship between EHRs and withholding information because of privacy concerns. In particular, we take into account how patient ratings of quality of care play a complicated role in this situation. Patients with doctors who use EHRs often rate the quality of care they receive higher than those with doctors who are not using these systems. At the same time, higher quality ratings generally mean that patients feel comfortable sharing information with doctors, even the sensitive information that we tend to keep to ourselves. Because quality ratings are associated both with EHRs and with holding back information from doctors, it is necessary to consider this in the analysis. Otherwise – as we show in the study – we would mistakenly conclude that EHRs are unrelated to holding back information. Instead, we show that when we accurately compare patients with the same characteristics, including quality ratings, patients with EHRs are more likely to withhold information from their doctors out of concerns for privacy.

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