Using an electronic health record to review portal images can lead to improvements in patient care and safety, according to a new study.
The study—results of which are published in the July issue of the Journal of the American College of Radiology
—found that use of an EHR improves compliance with record-keeping and timeliness policies. Better compliance, in turn, can improve patient care and safety, the authors said.
"More timely review of portal images should translate to higher quality care in the treatment of patients with radiation," the study's authors wrote. "Delays in reviewing portal images could lead to substandard treatments."
The study had analyzed 204 portal images—used to verify the positioning of patients during daily radiation treatments—that had been reviewed by hand on radiographic films or using the EHR. About one-fourth of the portal images reviewed by hand violated department policies, while violations were incurred for only 1% of portal images reviewed using the EHR.
Department violations include failure to sign and/or date portal images, not including a date when a portal image was signed by the attending physician and signing portal images after more than one business day.
"The EMR gives physicians the ability to review portal images from remote locations with secured network computers, including at home or at off-site locations," the study's authors wrote. "This expanded access adds to the convenience of reviewing portal images and led to timelier reviewing of portal images."