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In Emergency Departments Radiologists Access To EHRs May Influence Interpretations And Medical Management

Author: Michael J. Franczak, Madeline Klein, Flavius Raslau, Jo Bergholte, Leighton P. Mark, John L. Ulmer
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The adoption of electronic health records (EHRs) that meet federal meaningful-use standards is a major US national policy priority. Policy makers recognize the potential of electronic communication in delivering high-quality health care, particularly in an environment of expanding remote access to medical care and the ever-increasing need to transmit health care records across institutions. To demonstrate this principle, we sought to estimate the significance of EHR access in emergent neuroradiologic interpretations. Three neuroradiologists conducted a prospective expert-rater analysis of 2,000 consecutive head computed tomography (CT) exams ordered by emergency department (ED) physicians. For each head CT exam, the neuroradiologists compared medical information generated by ED physicians to information generated by the interpreting radiologists who had access to additional EHR-derived patient data. In 6.1 percent of the head CT exams, the neuroradiologists reached consensus—meaning two out of three agreed—that the additional clinical data derived from the EHR was “very likely” to influence radiological interpretations and that the lack of that data would have adversely affected medical management in those patients. Health care providers must recognize the value of implementing EHRs and foster their widespread adoption.

The adoption of electronic health records (EHRs) that meet federal meaningful-use standards is a major US national policy priority. Policy makers recognize the potential of electronic communication in delivering high-quality health care, particularly in an environment of expanding remote access to medical care and the ever-increasing need to transmit health care records across institutions. To demonstrate this principle, we sought to estimate the significance of EHR access in emergent neuroradiologic interpretations. Three neuroradiologists conducted a prospective expert-rater analysis of 2,000 consecutive head computed tomography (CT) exams ordered by emergency department (ED) physicians. For each head CT exam, the neuroradiologists compared medical information generated by ED physicians to information generated by the interpreting radiologists who had access to additional EHR-derived patient data. In 6.1 percent of the head CT exams, the neuroradiologists reached consensus—meaning two out of three agreed—that the additional clinical data derived from the EHR was “very likely” to influence radiological interpretations and that the lack of that data would have adversely affected medical management in those patients. Health care providers must recognize the value of implementing EHRs and foster their widespread adoption.

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