Computer-generated reminders in electronic health record systems can help improve care in developing countries, according to a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association, the International Business Times reports.
For the study, researchers at the Regenstrief Institute, the University of Indiana School of Medicine and Moi University School of Medicine in Kenya evaluated how EHRs affected care quality in clinics in Eldoret, Kenya. The clinics studied are part of the Academic Model Providing Access to Healthcare program, which provides care to more than 120,000 HIV-positive adults and children in western Kenya.
The study focused on an open-source EHR system, called OpenMRS, that is widely used in developing countries.
The study found that the EHR system's computer-generated reminders improved adherence to clinical guidelines for CD4 blood tests, which are key to monitoring the health and treatment of patients with HIV.
According to the researchers, EHR reminders about overdue tests resulted in a nearly 50% increase in appropriate use of CD4 blood tests.
Martin Chieng Were -- lead researcher and assistant professor of medicine at the University of Indiana -- in a statement said, "We need to improve quality of care in the developing world at a time when funding for HIV and other diseases is stagnating or decreasing," adding, "This study shows how electronic medical record systems with clinical decision support capabilities can help fill this need" (Emspak, International Business Times, 3/21).