New Survey Shows EHRs Benefit Even Small Providers

A survey of studies from recent years shows that health information technology has benefited healthcare providers, even small practices, refuting other recent findings that suggest electronic health records and other health IT do not produce positive effects for patient care. Previous studies focused on the early years of electronic health records (EHR) when functions were not as mature, according to one of the authors of the survey article, Dr. David Blumenthal, the national coordinator for health IT. Furthermore, the survey found evidence of emerging measurable benefits for small practices in addition to the larger health IT leaders, such as Kaiser Permanente and the Veterans Affairs Department, which have been the source of much experience data in the past, he said at a March 8 briefing sponsored by Health Affairs journal to announce its latest published studies. “Two salient aspects of this more recent synthesis is that it brings the literature up to date and extends it beyond the few large systems that were the source of most information on the record for health information technology, and looks at it in a much more representative set of provider settings,” Blumenthal said. In the survey of 154 peer-reviewed articles from 2007 to 2010, the article found that 92 percent of the studies reached conclusions that indicated overall positive effects with the use of health IT, he said.

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