EHRs improving quality, outcomes for patients
October 19, 2016
TORONTO – Growth in the use of interoperable Electronic Health Records (iEHR) by Canadian doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other healthcare professionals is fueling benefits for patients and providers, including improved quality of patient care, according to two articles published this year in the peer-reviewed journal BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making.
“The evidence confirms that use of the interoperable Electronic Health Record systems built by the provinces, territories, and their many partners over the past 15 years is delivering patient-care benefits and improvements for providers as intended,” said Michael Green (pictured), president and CEO, Canada Health Infoway.
According to the article, “Measuring interoperable EHR adoption and maturity: a Canadian example,” 91,235 healthcare providers in Canada were active users of at least two iEHR components (e.g., access to diagnostic images and drug information outside of their organization) as of March 31, 2015.
Twelve months later, that figure jumped by an additional 50 percent, bringing the number to approximately 139,000. More than 250,000 clinicians from across Canada use at least one component of the iEHR.
A second article, “The value of connected health information: perceptions of electronic health users in Canada,” reveals that iEHR users are reporting improved quality of care and improved access to patient information.
The article reported:
- Respondents in four surveys were asked about the impact of the iEHR on their productivity or efficiency. Overall, three provinces and territories reported positive outcomes and one had negative outcome.
- Only positive outcomes were found in the four evaluations that looked at the iEHR’s impact on efficiency in accessing diagnostic imaging.
- This parallels findings of significant productivity gains related to digital imaging found in evaluations focused specifically on this question.
- Similarly, the three evaluations that asked about efficiency in accessing lab results also had positive outcomes. In terms of reductions in duplication of lab tests and diagnostic imaging, three surveys had positive outcomes and one had a mixed/neutral outcome.
- However, in the three evaluations that asked whether the iEHR reduced the need to obtain information manually, there was only one positive outcome and two mixed/neutral outcomes.
“The use of the iEHR by Canadian clinicians is beyond the tipping point, and following closely behind are patients and caregivers, who also expect to have the ability to make use of digital health tools and capabilities, as they should,” added Green.
The value of connected health information: perceptions of electronic health users in Canada is based on evidence from studies conducted by Canada Health Infoway.
A total of 2,316 iEHR users across six jurisdictions in Canada responded to surveys between 2006 and 2014 about system, information, and service quality; iEHR use and satisfaction; and net quality and productivity benefits.
Measuring interoperable EHR adoption and maturity: a Canadian example is based on technology adoption trends over time, and is supported by data from surveys of clinicians and patients, usage data from digital health solutions, and operational data sets collected by our partners.
About Canada Health Infoway
Infoway helps to improve the health of Canadians by working with partners to accelerate the development, adoption and effective use of digital health across Canada. Through our investments, we help deliver better quality and access to care and more efficient delivery of health services for patients and clinicians. Infoway is an independent, not-for-profit organization funded by the federal government.