EHRs dont measure up

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Electronic health records (EHRs) made no difference in 14 of 17 quality measures of routing physician visits, despite ongoing claims that the systems are the answer to many healthcare system problems.

A study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine and authored by researchers at Stanford and Harvard universities, was based on a survey of 1.8 billion physician visits in 2003 and 2004. EHRs were used in 18 percent of the visits. Electronic records only helped physicians treating patients with depression avoid prescribing certain tranquilizers and avoid offering urinalysis during general medical exams. Physicians using electronic records, however, did worse than peers using paper records for prescribing statins for patients with high cholesterol.