How EHRs Can Measure Patient-Centered Care

Non-clinical information entered in electronic health records can help measure the extent to which an organization is providing patient-centered care, according to a study in Health Services Research.

Researchers collected EHR data from 15,370 patients with diabetes and 49,561 patients with hypertension at a large group practice in California. They then analyzed the relationship between clinical indicators found in the EHR, such as blood glucose levels, blood lipid levels and blood pressure readings and non-clinical information in the records, including the number of messages sent between providers and patients, inter-practice messages about patients and the time to the third-next-available appointment.

Results showed a large number of messages and more readily available appointments indicated more patient-centered care and were associated with improved patient outcomes.

“We were looking for ways to leverage the amount of operational information in a practice's EHR and find measurements of the process of care,” said lead author Ming Tai-Seale, PhD, MPH, a senior staff scientist at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation Research Institute in Palo Alto, Calif., in a news release. "We were pleasantly surprised to see we could do that.”

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