Electronic health records failed to improve care for stroke patients

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Whether or not a hospital has electronic health records (EHRs) does not mean that stroke patients will have better clinical outcomes or higher quality of care, according to a study led by a Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health researcher and published in the May 2015 Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

“We thought we might see an [positive] effect, and we didn’t,” said Karen Joynt, instructor in the Department of Health Policy and Management, in Modern Healthcare May 4, 2015. “Their interfaces aren’t terrific, and they don’t have the ability to really link people together to care for complex patients,” Joynt said of EHRs.

In the study of more than 626,000 stroke patients, Joynt and her colleagues found no significant difference in outcome or quality of care among those cared for in hospitals with and without EHRs. If EHRs were designed differently and more integrated into clinicians’ work, perhaps they would be helpful in coordinating the many services stroke patients often require, like rehabilitation medicine, speech therapy, or physical therapy, she said.