I have a confession to make… I reluctantly got into the healthcare IT industry. While my entire career has been in healthcare, I purposely avoided getting to know the IT side of the business. I wanted my healthcare career to be focused on things that could “really make a difference” in people’s lives. After all, or so I thought, there must be a reason why the IT department of every hospital I had been in was located in the basement.
So here I am now, a Vice President in the world’s largest healthcare IT association. And I can only shake my head in wonder at my “youthful ignorance.” I now know how wrong I was.
This point was hammered home to me recently as I wrapped up a study looking at the clinical effectiveness of the EHR. HIMSS Analytics, with clinical data and analytical support from Healthgrades, sought to scientifically measure the clinical benefits of EHR adoption. The findings indicate there is a relationship between the level of EHR adoption (as measured by a hospital’s EMRAM score), and a hospitals performance (as measured by predicted, actual rates of mortality and associated z-scores).
In all the clinical cohorts and service lines we evaluated, there was a statistical relationship between EMRAM scores and the Healthgrades quality outcomes measures studied. Observed relationships included: lower actual mortality rates in four cohorts, higher predicted rates in nine cohorts, marginally different actual and predicted rates, which resulted in higher z-scores (better net performance) in three cohorts and no difference in four cohorts.
I am highly encouraged and motivated by the findings of this seminal study. It reinforces to me that healthcare IT is an integral part of patient care. The investments hospitals have made in advancing their EHR capabilities are allowing practitioners to better capture patient information. And this improved data capture involving the patients’ co-morbidities and other risks allow clinicians to better manage patients seen in the hospital, resulting in more positive predicted clinical outcomes.
Now isn’t that why I got into healthcare?
About the Contributor
Lorren Pettit is Vice President of Market Research for HIMSS Analytics. He works with an expert team offering clients strategic guidance toward achieving sustainable growth and market leadership positioning.