A quality improvement project at Kaiser Permanente in Hawaii demonstrated that health care professionals can successfully use EHRs to monitor and treat patients with chronic illness.
Information from the electronic medical record provided physicians with information that enabled them to proactively treat high-risk patients with End-stage Renal Disease (ESRD). Use of the EHR provided the ability to coordinate care between primary and specialty care providers, and monitor treatments.
It was interesting to note in their press release that the data contained in the EHR not only provided monitoring capabilities, but also provided a method in which patients with preliminary/early signs of renal failure were identified, contacted, and referred to specialists or primary care providers with accompanying plans for medical care and treatment.
EHRs that enable providers with methods for early detection and treatment of illness can improve the delivery of health care and health outcomes.
Reaching patients before an illness worsens is a critical aspect of prevention and proactive medical care. Kaiser Permanente's 5 year project is a "real life" use case that demonstrates how proper use of an electronic medical record CAN improve delivery of health care.
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