These patients agree the EHR is the best tool in the doctor's bag

These patients agree the EHR is the best tool in the doctor's bag

Paper-based health records do not offer provider collaboration and immediate data access needed for patient care
CHICAGO – Living in the “Technology Age” benefits not only daily lives, but also, provides a significantly positive impact on healthcare in the United States.
The electronic health record (EHR) offers the ability to track, monitor, trend and improve patient outcomes, as the following examples illustrate.
The Generations+/Northern Manhattan Health Network (Generations+) is comprised of three acute care hospitals in New York City representing some of the most medically needy and underserved communities in the nation; Lincoln Medical & Mental Health Center, Harlem Hospital Center, Morrisania Family Neighborhood Health Center, Segundo Ruiz Belvis Family Neighborhood Health Center, and Renaissance Family Neighborhood Health Center, all part of New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation (NYCHHC).
Chief Network Information Officer of Generations+/Network Maricar Barrameda, NP, MSN, said her organization has “many examples of how our EHR saves lives and affects future outcomes.” In 2004, a pregnant woman seen in a Generations+/Network clinic for a prenatal check-up also received a CT scan. The scan was positive for cancer.
“The patient missed her appointment and the EHR built-in functionality for abnormal test patient notification and recall process prompted the staff to call her home only to find she had left the country. The recall went on for months aided by this EHR tool. She finally returned home and a care team went to her house and brought her into the hospital for treatment of cancer. We saved her life.”
Allina Hospitals & Clinics is a not-for-profit integrated delivery system of hospitals, clinics and other healthcare services. Nearly 23,000 employees, 5,000 physicians and 2,500 volunteers are dedicated to meeting the lifelong health care needs of communities throughout Minnesota and western Wisconsin. All of Allina’s 11 hospitals and 65 clinics are connected with the electronic health record, denoted as Excellian, “One patient, one record.” With this connectivity, the health system reports a three-to-five-year impact of improved diabetes care for 17,000 patients, resulting in:

  • 130 fewer strokes
  • 400 fewer heart attacks
  • 200 fewer deaths
  • 300 fewer cases of diabetic eye disease

Additional examples of improved preventive care for patients with its electronic health record include:

  • 57 more patients received optimal care in acute myocardial infarction across the system
  • 346 more patients received optimal care in heart failure across the system
  • 460 more patients received optimal care in pneumonia across the system

The New York Children’s Health Project (NYCHP) operates mobile clinics that visit homeless shelters throughout New York City on a regular weekly schedule. The New York Children’s Health Project, a program of Montefiore Medical Center and the Children’s Health Fund, works with homeless children and families, runaway youth and victims of domestic violence via high-tech mobile medical units (“doctor’s offices on wheels”) and on-site shelter clinics.
This community health organization has tailored the electronic health record for its pediatric population to provide immediate access to vital patient health information for its complex patient population. “JB,” one of the clinic’s patient’s, is a six-month-old boy seen by NYCHP providers at various homeless shelters. At a recent visit, he appeared with a severe rash and ear infection. By referencing the built-in growth chart in the EHR, JB’s doctor observed significant weight loss since his previous visit at a different site, noting the percentile growth curve for his age had decreased from 12 percent to less than 1 percent.
Such dramatic and seemingly unexplained weight loss prompted JB’s doctor to involve an off-site social worker and nutritionist in his care. After speaking further with JB’s mother, his provider discovered he had undergone a surgical procedure to remove part of his intestines when he was 2-1/2 months old.  He was switched to a special formula that was easier to digest, and within a week, his weight increased and his rash improved.
“Through the EHR, not only was JB’s entire medical record available at every site where he received care, but also, his providers could collaborate by accessing a comprehensive medical summary and growth chart to facilitate diagnosis of his conditions,” said Karen Redlener, executive director, New York Children’s Health Project. “Clearly EHR enhances the quality of care for any patient with complex health care needs. But for patients who are transient and medically underserved – like the children we care for in homeless shelters – an EHR is a vital component of an appropriate health care delivery system.” Thus, explained Redlener, the electronic health record supports the NYCHP mission to provide high quality, continuous and efficient care for homeless children and families.
These examples demonstrate the impact of digital technology on improved patient outcomes, phenomenal impact for the healthcare industry that could never be accomplished with traditional paper processes. The healthcare organizations described here are awardees of the HIMSS Davies Awards of Excellence, which recognizes achievement and excellence in and value from health information technology, specifically the EHR.
The Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) is the healthcare industry’s membership organization exclusively focused on providing global leadership for the optimal use of healthcare information technology (IT) and management systems for the betterment of healthcare. Founded in 1961 with offices in Chicago, Washington D.C., Brussels, Singapore, and other locations, HIMSS represents more than 20,000 individual members and over 350 corporate members that collectively represent organizations employing millions of people. HIMSS frames and leads healthcare public policy and industry practices through its advocacy, educational and professional development initiatives designed to promote information and management systems’ contributions to ensuring quality patient care. Visit for more information.