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EHR Data Mining Helps With Quality Improvement

Data mining tools, including health maintenance alerts, reports, are available in EHR products

WEDNESDAY, April 22, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Electronic health records (EHRs) are a valuable source of data that can be mined to help practices with quality improvement performance, according to a study published in Medical Economics.

Noting that the use of electronic registries to identify patient care gaps and feedback of performance data to physicians remains confined to a small percentage of practices, the article considers the importance of data mining.

According to the article, there are data mining tools available in many EHR products; these include health maintenance alerts, which can be customized, and report writers. EHRs that include prebuilt reports may be programmed for a specific reporting period, although this period can be lengthened. Furthermore, the reports have to be run in order to extract the latest data from them and are not updated automatically. Third-party registry software interfaced with EHRs can provide automated reports and can give good current information on all patients. Sophisticated registry software can be cost-prohibitive, but it is valuable. Very basic registry applications can be found online and are inexpensive and easy to implement.

Good data are needed in order to obtain actionable results, according to the article. In order to obtain these data, staff members should be trained to enter data in agreed-on fields. This can be difficult if a practice is working on multiple quality improvement areas simultaneously, and consequently practices should focus on one area at a time.

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