EHRs Led to Improved Health Outcomes, R.I. Program Finds

The use of electronic health record systems helped improve health care quality and outcomes, according to the results of a three-year pilot program organized by Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island, Providence Business News reports (Asinof, Providence Business News, 12/12).

About the Pilot Program

For the pilot program, 79 primary care physicians received partial funding to help purchase an EHR system. They also received monthly stipends during the first and second years of the program to help cover the time spent on EHR implementation and redesigning workflow.

In addition, participating physicians had the opportunity to receive bonus payments based on their performance on 10 quality measures established by BCBS.

Pilot Program Results

According to BCBS, the EHR pilot program contributed to improved health care outcomes, including:

  • A 44% median rate of improvement in family and children's health care;
  • A 35% median rate of improvement in women's care; and
  • A 24% median rate of improvement in internal medicine (Providence Business News, 12/12).

BCBS officials said they used the pilot program as the foundation for the health plan's patient-centered medical home model of care (BCBS release, 12/12).

Paula Fortner
This article was updated after BCBS issued a correction noting that its original EHR pilot program results "inadvertently contained health care cost data that had not been risk adjusted and did not include costs related to infrastructure spending." It added, "Although the pilot program significantly improved health care quality, at this time we are unable to accurately ascertain the cost implications of the pilot." – The Editors

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