The use of electronic health records can improve certain measurements of care for patients with Type 2 diabetes, according to a study published in the journal Health Services Research, FierceEMR reports (Hirsch, FierceEMR, 1/26).
For the study, researchers evaluated the treatment of 14,051 patients with diabetes in 34 primary care settings within the HealthTexas Provider Network, a subsidiary of Baylor Health Care System. Of these patients, 6,376 had physicians who used EHRs.
Over a four-year period, researchers examined diabetes care as a whole and within five measures of diabetes management:
- HbA1c, which shows average blood sugar control over time;
- LDL cholesterol;
- Blood pressure target levels;
- Documented use of aspirin; and
- Non-smoking status (Brownlee, Health Behavior News Service, 1/24).
Researchers found that patients who received treatment from physicians using EHRs were more likely to receive "optimal care" for Type 2 diabetes.
Specifically, such patients had better outcomes in blood pressure management, aspirin use and smoking cessation than patients whose physicians did not use EHRs, according to the study.
Jeph Herrin -- a co-author of the study from Yale University -- said EHR-generated reminders and improved documentation helped lead to the improved outcomes (FierceEMR, 1/26).
However, the use of EHRs did not significantly improve blood sugar or LDL cholesterol management, according to the study.
Spyros Mezitis -- an endocrinologist at New York City's Lenox Hill Hospital -- said, "This study showed mixed results."
He added that more research is necessary to develop EHR systems that can help boost all measures of diabetes care (Health Behavior News Service, 1/24).