EHR Improves Care for Vulnerable Populations

A September 1 study in the New England Journal of Medicine by the AF4Q Alliance in Cleveland found that the quality of diabetes care, across insurance types including Medicaid and uninsured patients, was improved by the meaningful use of electronic health records (EHRs). “We were not surprised by these results,” said Randall D. Cebul, MD, director of Better Health Greater Cleveland and the study’s lead author, “but they were influenced by several factors, including our public reporting on agreed-upon standards of care and the willingness of our clinical partners to share their EHR-based best practices while simultaneously competing on their execution.”

“I am especially pleased that the benefits reported in this investigation spanned all insurance types, including Medicaid and uninsured patients, since it is essential that the modern information technologies improve care for all Americans, including our most vulnerable citizens,” said David Blumenthal, M.D., M.P.P., professor of Medicine and Health Policy at Harvard Medical School and past National Coordinator for Health Information Technology.

The research involved more than 500 primary care physicians in 46 practices that are partners in Better Health Greater Cleveland. EHR sites were associated with significantly higher achievement of care and outcome standards and greater improvement in diabetes care.