Incomplete, duplicated EHR problem lists linked to disease severity: study

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Patient demographics and severity of their disease are two factors that appear to impact incompleteness and duplication of problem lists in EHRs, according to a recent study published in the Journal of Informatics in Health and Biomedicine.

For the study, researchers analyzed records of 327,695 Partners HealthCare patients with eight common chronic diseases: Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, depression, schizophrenia, diabetes, hypertension, asthma and epilepsy. Of the participants, there were 383,404 problem list entries, and researchers examined each patient's problem list to check for any incompleteness or duplications.

Results of the analysis showed that the completeness of patients' problem lists ranged based on disease severity. Ninety-three percent of patients with asthma had a completed problem list compared to just 73 percent of patients with hypertension. For duplications, 28 percent of patients with diabetes were duplicate but only 4.8 percent of patients with hypertension had duplicates in their problem list.

Researchers concluded there must be further studies done to examine the effect that individual EHR user behaviors and organization policies have on problem lists.

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