Sunday, November 11, 2007

NYC DOHMH helps EHR software vendor develop features to monitor and improve population health

I have seen the team in action and it is very impressive. Under Dr Mostashari's leadership, a highly motivated group including physicians and public health professionals have significantly accelerated the evolution of Electronic Health Records. SV

Although e-health records are often touted as supporting disease prevention and better patient care, the systems available to doctors and clinics do not achieve those goals, an assistant commissioner of New York City’s health department told a congressional panel.

Even systems certified by the Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology generally lack four features needed to improve population health, said Dr. Farzad Mostashari, who heads New York City’s Primary Care Information Project.

He listed these features:

Structured data collection -- using standard terms and codes that can be interpreted by computers -- for a minimal set of priority clinical terms, such as smoking status.

Registry functions, which enable users to generate lists of patients needing certain treatments or tests. For example, a medical practice should be able to compile a list of all patients over age 50 who have not had colon exams and send them reminders.

Quality measures, or built-in capabilities to assess the health of a set of patients and how well they are being treated for priority conditions.

Decision support tools, which deliver reminders and warnings to doctors and inform them of best practices in treatment.

Mostashari said the city is working with its chosen EHR vendor to build these features into its system and will work with users of other products and their software providers to add functionality to those systems. Although Mostashari did not name the vendor, it is Westborough, Mass.-based eClinicalWorks.

He spoke at a hearing of the House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Government Management, Organization and Procurement.


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