Healthcare Business News

Groups look to use EHR data to help docs identify 'quality gaps'

By Andis Robeznieks
Posted: March 31, 2011 - 2:00 pm ET

Data from electronic health records will be used in a new quality-improvement program launched by three major health and disease research organizations to help physicians use evidence-based guidelines in patient care.

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The Guidelines Advantage is an outpatient-based collaboration of the American Cancer Society, the American Diabetes Association and the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. It will use information from EHRs to measure provider performance against standards and benchmarks developed by the three groups.

"In this way, we can help clinicians assess the quality gaps in their practices, which, in turn, helps them identify opportunities to improve the delivery of care to their patients," said Dr. Carol Wysham, American Diabetes Association Professional Practice Committee chairwoman and associate clinical professor of medicine at the University of Washington, Spokane, said in a news release. "To improve the care of their patients, clinicians need to have a way to measure their success at following guidelines."

According to the Guidelines Advantage FAQ Web page, "Participating practices provide basic demographic information and medical history, including risk factors, prior events, ongoing treatments, lab work, vital signs, medications and contraindications to medications along with additional data measures commonly being collected in the EHR systems."

In the next item on the FAQ page, it’s noted that the program does not value "computer-driven decision making" more than a healthcare professional’s critical thinking.

"The reports and technology are tools to aid critical thinking and assist you in the study of your own practices in comparison with others,” the item stated. "Additionally, the Guideline Advantage statistics help you consider what works for the greatest number of patients and document the clinical decisions for individuals you believe fall outside the statistical range.”

According to the news release, "several large vendors are in the process of coming on board."

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