Electronic medical records can improve diabetes management

Fri, 02 Sep 2011
Scientists in the United States have shown a link between the use of electronic medical records and an improvement of diabetes care through better communication with patients. The research found that electronic methods rather than traditional paper files helped patients with diabetes to be better and improve faster.

The study, which was published in the New England Journal of Medicine, assessed the medical records of over 27,000 adults who received diabetes care at clinics in and around Cleveland, to identify any differences between results from clinics that were using electronic records and those that weren't.

It was revealed that patients who went to clinics that had electronic records were over a third more likely to have received care that met clinical benchmarks, including the measurement of glycated haemoglobin (HbA1c), and were also 15 per cent more likely to meet all benchmarks for their personal health, including blood pressure, cholesterol and weight.

However, the study doesn't necessarily show that clinics moving over to e-records directly improves patient care, as there are other reasons that could cause the difference. Although such a changeover helps to reduce medical errors by offering warnings about such things as medication allergies, and make it easier for healthcare professionals to communicate with patients and each other, there are also concerns that some clinics are failing to properly follow guidelines about diabetic patient care, even if they have started using electronic records.
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