On July 28th, 2016, researchers from Harvard, in conjunction with researchers from several hospitals, published a study in the BMJ which found that the implementation of new electronic health records (EHRs) systems does not have material repercussions on patient care in hospitals.
The study observed 17 hospitals implementing new EHRs, along with a control group of 399 hospitals in the same hospital referral region. Researchers looked at 6-month periods both before and after this implementation, and found that 30-day mortality and adverse safety event rates did not vary significantly. There was an unadjusted decrease in 30-day readmission rates, from 19.9% to 19.0%, however, the researchers confirmed that “there was no significant change in any outcome between pre-implementation and post-implementation periods.”
Despite increasing alarm over patients’ safety after hospital-wide transitions to EHR systems, it appears that hospitals are able to overcome any disruptions associated with the transition, with no overall negative effect on short-term inpatient mortality, adverse safety events, or higher rates of hospital readmissions.