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Electronic Medical Records Improve Elderly Patient Care

Computer-based medical records also improve care for diabetics

WEDNESDAY, April 16 (HealthDay News) -- Elderly and diabetic patients are better served by the use of electronic medical and health records, according to two studies published in the April issue of the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

Valerie Weber, M.D., and colleagues at the Geisinger Health System in Danville, Pa., conducted a study of the fall-related diagnoses and medications of 620 community-dwelling patients aged over 70. Using an electronic medical record-based intervention, the patients' medications were reviewed and recommendations were sent to the patients' primary care physicians. Those in the intervention group used fewer psychoactive medications and started fewer medications during the study period.

Weber and colleagues also looked at the use of electronic health records for over 20,000 diabetic patients at 38 practice sites. The record system included various measures of diabetes care and led to improvements in all areas, such as maintenance of ideal glucose and blood pressure control, and vaccination for pneumococcal disease and influenza.

"Electronic health record registries can create tools never before available in medical practice and can be used to galvanize physician-led teams to improve care," the authors write. "Medical groups should strive to further refine these methods and continue to work to apply them to improve the care of patients with diabetes and other chronic diseases."

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