The push to digitize health records has led to a polarizing debate among health care professionals, politicians and patients. However, new research has surfaced that indicates that the implementation of electronic health records has the potential to greatly improve patient care.
Medicalnewstoday.com reports that a study conducted by researchers from Case Western Reserve University and published in the New England Journal of Medicine, clearly shows that electronic health records contribute to more comprehensive and effective care for diabetes patients.
The study involved over 27,000 diabetes-stricken people in the Cleveland, Ohio area. Researchers looked at whether or not a person's primary care physician had adopted a system of electronic health documents, or still adhered to paper-based methods of record-keeping.
Their findings were definitive in favor of electronic documentation.
51% of people whose doctors kept electronic files received comprehensive care for their diabetes. Among those who attended practices with paper records, only 7% were properly cared for.
In terms of overall results of medical care, almost 44% of those people cared for by electronic health record-keeping practices achieved national targets with regards to cholesterol, blood sugar levels, blood pressure, body mass index and tobacco abstinence. Only 16% of people attending practices with paper documents reached the same national standards.
These figures held true across the board for people on Medicare and Medicaid, as well as the uninsured and privately insured.