HealthDay News — Electronic health record (EHR) documentation can be used to reduce preventable harm in hospitals, according to a study published online April 27 in Pediatrics.

Daniel Hyman, MD, from Children’s Hospital Colorado in Aurora, and colleagues used EHR documentation to enable decision support, data capture, and auditing and implemented reporting tools to expedite early identification of patients at risk and provide timely intervention. Strategies to reduce harm included aggregating data to generate a risk profile for hospital-acquired conditions (HACs) for all inpatients. The risk profile included links to prevention bundles and care guidelines. Real-time dashboards of bundle compliance were populated with data from observational audits and EHR documentation. The discussion of relevant HAC prevention measures during patient care and unit leadership rounds was promoted via patient population summary reports.

The researchers found that since 2012, the hospital had experienced a more than 30% reduction in harm for 9 types of HACs. The number of HACs with more than 80% bundle adherence doubled in 2014, coinciding with the progressive rollout of these EHR interventions.

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“Existing EHR documentation and reporting tools may be effective adjuncts to harm reduction initiatives,” the authors wrote. “Additional study should include an evaluation of scalability across organizations, ongoing bundle adherence, and individual tests of change to isolate interventions with the highest impact on our results.”

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Hyman D, Neiman J, Rannie M, Allen R, Swietlik M, Balzer A. Innovative use of the electronic health record to support harm reduction efforts [published online April 27, 2017]. Pediatrics. doi:10.1542/peds.2015-3410