Electronic health records make little difference in the quality of medical care, at least when it comes to walk-in doctor visits, a new study found.
"In clinic visits in which doctors did use and didn't use electronic health records, we didn't find clear evidence that EHR use was associated with better quality," said study lead author Jeffrey Linder.
But the type of record might affect quality, he added.
"In this particular study, we weren't looking at a particular type of electronic health record. But other studies have shown that most of the electronic health records that have been put in place are not much more than a replacement for the paper chart," said Linder, who is an associate physician in the division of general internal medicine and primary care at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston.
"In light of those findings, this is not that surprising," Linder added. "There's nothing magical about electronic health records. You need to have tools in place that take advantage of technology to show improvements in quality. You need to do additional work instead of just turning on the computer."
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