Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Sharing Medical Records Cuts Readmissions

Can sharing electronic medical records within a hospital make a difference in patient outcomes?

A survey of 13 of the top 18 U.S. hospitals found that only 22 percent both maintained patient records electronically and allowed access to those records by non-psychiatric physicians.

That combination was associated with modestly reduced 14- and 30-day readmission rates of psychiatric patients compared to hospitals that did not share electronic psychiatric records, reported Adam Kaplin, M.D., Ph.D., an assistant professor of psychiatry at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and colleagues, in a study published online in the International Journal of Medical Informatics. “The big elephant in the room is the stigma," said Kaplin, in a statement.

Hospitals may keep psychiatric records hidden to “protect” patients’ confidentiality, but that may not help patients, especially when drugs prescribed for psychiatric disorders interact with other medications, he said. “We're hurting our patients by not giving their medical doctors the full picture of their health."

For more in Psychiatric News about how APA is joining with other physician groups to learn more about how doctors use electronic health records, click here. APA's official position statement on electronic health records can be found here.

(Image: Pav197lin/


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