EHR Search Engine App Reduces ED Imaging Overuse

Researchers who developed a search engine app in the electronic health record found it was easier to access relevant medical history information of a certain patient and reduced the utilization of emergency department imaging services, according to a study in the Journal of the American College of Radiology.

While EHRs serve as an aggregate of information and events, much of the data are stored as free-text documents, making it difficult to filter through unnecessary information. To address this, researchers developed the Queriable Patient Inference Dossier, an EHR search engine through which users can access specific "packages" of data and concepts. For this stage of the trial, researchers focused on a QPID application specifically geared for ED care that draws patient medical history related to initial screening, imaging and diagnostic examinations.

For each patient, the QPID searched 74 query topics ED physicians deemed important for screening and management. Query topics included structured data, such as laboratory values, and unstructured data, such as reports and medication alerts.

For structured data, the QPID results accurately matched the EHR data 87 percent of the time. For unstructured data, it matched 75 percent of the time. Additionally, the average search time for QPID to complete all 74 query searches was approximately 15 seconds.

Researchers found the QPID search engine and the queries demonstrate a high level of accuracy for extracting accurate information deemed necessary by ED physicians from the EHR.

"Incorporating this tool into the busy ED environment may help reduce the overutilization of health resources, including imaging, in this challenging setting," the authors wrote in the study. "Furthermore, as health systems' EHRs are connected by health information exchanges, more electronic patient information will be made available creating an even greater need for tools such as QPID."

More Articles on EHRs:

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Clinicians' Top Uses for Smartphones, Tablets, Computers

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