Can EHRs adequately measure care quality for adolescents? 3 study findings

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Researchers examined the feasibility of using electronic health records to measure care quality in pediatric health centers in a new study published in the Journal For Healthcare Quality. The authors focused their research on centers that service adolescents.

The study included a survey of information technology professionals at 10 health centers. The survey asked whether data was being collected on nine areas of adolescent health, including screening, health risks, sexual health, diagnosis and history, laboratory results, prescriptions, referrals, forms management and patient demographics. The researchers created a scale to measure the extent to which the EHR was able to measure care quality.

Highlighted below are three findings from the study.

1. Overall feasibility scores varied across centers from 34 percent to 85 percent and from 53 percent to 80 percent across care domains.

2. One center reported 100 percent feasibility for eight of 10 care domains

3. Ultimately, EHRs can facilitate quality improvement, but the feasibility of such use depends on the presence, validity and accessibility of the quality data in the EHR.

"Even among the largest and most sophisticated pediatric EHR systems, quality of care measurement is not possible yet for all aspects of adolescent well care without manual effort to review and code data," the authors concluded. "Nevertheless, almost all quality measures were reported to be feasible in some systems."



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