Providers with Sophisticated EHRs More Likely to Focus on Preventive Care

Women who visit healthcare providers who use sophisticated electronic health record systems (EHRs) are likely to receive better preventive care than those that receive services from providers who utilize basics EHRs or those still clinging to paper, according to a study published in the March 2013 edition of the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association.

According to the study, which is based on responses to the 2007-2008 National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey, primary care providers who employed more sophisticated EHR systems were more likely to order routine women's health tests and ordered a greater number of such tests than physicians who used less sophisticated EHR systems or no EHR systems. For example, 44.98% of physicians with fully functional EHR capabilities ordered routine breast examinations, compared with only 20.27% of physicians without an EHR system.

In fact researchers found that providers using more sophisticated EHR systems were more likely to order:

  • Breast and pelvic examinations;
  • Pap smears;
  • Cholesterol tests;
  • Mammograms; and
  • Bone mineral density tests.

According to the research study, the presence of an EHR could have “a positive impact on preventive women’s healthcare.” In addition, “the more functions that the system has, the greater the number of examinations and tests given or prescribed.”

Unfortunately, however, many health providers still do not leverage sophisticated systems. According to the study’s findings, only 5.46% of providers had fully functional EHR capabilities; 49.34 had minimal EHR capabilities; and 29.23% did not have an EHR system at all.

The study’s authors suggest that women’s health specialists should invest in sophisticated systems to help improve preventive care efforts.