Improving Access to Longitudinal Patient Health Information within an Emergency Department

  • Wilcox A
  • Shen S
  • Dorr D
 et al. 
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We designed and implemented an electronic patient tracking system with
improved user authentication and patient selection. We then measured
access to clinical information from previous clinical encounters before
and after implementation of the system. Clinicians accessed longitudinal
information for 16% of patient encounters before, and 40% of patient
encounters after the intervention, indicating such a system can improve
clinician access to information. We also attempted to evaluate the
impact of providing this access on inpatient admissions from the
emergency department, by comparing the odds of inpatient admission from
an emergency department before and after the improved access was made
available. Patients were 24% less likely to be admitted after the
implementation of improved access. However, there were many potential
confounders, based on the inherent pre-post design of the evaluation.
Our experience has strong implications for current health information
exchange initiatives.

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  • A. B. Wilcox

  • S. Shen

  • D. A. Dorr

  • G. Hripcsak

  • L. Heermann

  • S. P. Narus

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