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Electronic Patient Records Reduce Time to Treatment

Clinic decreases treatment intervals for Chlamydia after switching to electronic records

THURSDAY, June 3 (HealthDay News) -- Switching from paper notes to electronic patient records (EPR) may help clinics dramatically reduce the time between a positive test result and treatment for a sexually transmitted infection, according to research published online May 21 in Sexually Transmitted Infections.

M. Gary Brook, M.D., and colleagues at Central Middlesex Hospital in London measured the patient intervals between first attendance, first positive result received, first attempted patient contact, and attendance for treatment of 52 consecutive patients with untreated Chlamydia presenting at a sexual health clinic both before and after the establishment of EPR.

The researchers found that, between 2007 and 2009, when EPR were introduced, the median time it took to treat a patient with a positive Chlamydia result decreased by 11.5 days. Despite the results taking two days longer to arrive in 2009, the time between first attendance and treatment fell by 9.5 days. Patients being treated within two weeks of a positive result increased to 94 percent in 2009 from 38 percent in 2007.

"The 'time to treat' interval was dramatically reduced following the introduction of EPR. Clinics using paper notes should consider switching to EPR as a means of improving sexually transmitted infection recall efficiency," the authors conclude.

One author disclosed involvement with training and lecturing on EPR use for Blithe Computer Systems Ltd. in return for educational donations to clinic.

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