Article Published in Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety

CHIP Director Abel Kho, MD, MS, and Associate Director Theresa Walunas, PhD, recently collaborated with Research Associate Professor David Liss, PhD, of the Division of General Internal Medicine and Geriatrics at Northwestern Medicine Feinberg School of Medicine, and other researchers to publish an article in the Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety, “Using Electronic Health Records to Measure Quality Improvement Efforts: Findings from a Large Practice Facilitation Initiative.”

Using data from the Healthy Hearts in the Heartland (H3) study, this substudy sought to address a gap in quantitative evidence showing the extent to which electronic health records (EHRs) can generate quality measures with reporting periods aligning with real-world QI efforts.

According to Dr. David Liss, the study offers the first quantitative results to show the extent of a problem that is common across the USA. Specifically, the research team found that:

  1. Over 40% of practices under study were unable to obtain quality measures in the desired format for this QI project.
  2. Most practices that were unable to obtain desired quality measures used an EHR with limited measurement capabilities.
  3. Smaller practices were more likely to be unable to obtain the desired measures.

These findings are significant, because they suggest that:

  1. Limitations of EHRs create challenges for practices that want to collect quality data and conduct QI. In the study, the challenges were more common among small practices.
  2. EHR vendors’ compliance with federal reporting requirements is not necessarily sufficient to support real-world QI work.
  3. Improvements are needed in the flexibility and usability of EHRs’ quality measurement functions.

The work of the study was conducted with some help from the Healthy Hearts for Oklahoma (H2O) study team, including F. Daniel Duffy, MD and David C. Kendrick, MD MPH.

Read the full article on The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety website.

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