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Electronic Health Records Aid Diabetes Control

Researchers found that the records can help doctors better target treatment, testing

THURSDAY, Oct. 4, 2012 (HealthDay News) -- The use of electronic health records helped improve outcomes for diabetes patients, according to California researchers.

Specifically, the use of electronic health records was associated with increases in medication, monitoring and risk-factor control among patients. It also led to greater improvements in patients with poorer control of their diabetes and lipids, the Kaiser Permanente researchers found.

They said the findings, published in the Oct. 2 issue of the journal Annals of Internal Medicine, are the first to show that electronic health records can help doctors to better target treatment changes and follow-up testing for diabetes patients.

"What we saw in this study is that the [electronic health records] really helped our alignment with quality measures and clinical guidelines for treatment," Dr. Marc Jaffe, clinical leader at the Kaiser Permanente Northern California Cardiovascular Risk Reduction Program, said in a Kaiser news release.

"Increases in information availability, decision support and order-entry functionality help clinicians identify the most appropriate patients for drug-treatment intensification and retesting, which leads to better care of patients with diabetes," he added.

For the study, Jaffe and colleagues looked at the use of electronic health records for nearly 170,000 diabetes patients at 17 medical centers in northern California.

The next step is to assess how the use of electronic health record affects long-term outcomes for diabetes patients, the researchers said.

More information

The American Diabetes Association has more about treatment and control of diabetes.

SOURCE: Kaiser Permanente, news release, Oct. 1, 2012
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