AHRQ Study: Fully Electronic Health Record Associated With Lower Odds of In-Hospital Adverse Events

Cardiovascular, pneumonia and surgery patients exposed to fully electronic health records were less likely to experience in-hospital adverse events, according to a new AHRQ study. Using 2012 and 2013 Medicare Patient Safety Monitoring System data, researchers examined the association of hospitals' electronic health records adoption and occurrence rates of in-hospital adverse events. The primary outcomes evaluated were the occurrence rates of 21 in-hospital adverse events, classified by four clinical domains: hospital-acquired infections, adverse drug events, general events (such as falls and pressure ulcers) and postprocedural events. Among the more than 45,000 patients who were at risk for nearly 350,000 adverse events in the study sample, 13 percent were exposed to fully electronic health records. Among all study patients, the occurrence rate of adverse events was 2.3 percent (7,820 adverse events). Patients exposed to fully electronic health records, however, had 17–30 percent lower odds of any adverse event. A blog post about the study has been published online in the AHRQ Views Blog. The study, “Electronic Health Records Adoption and Rates of In-Hospital Adverse Events,” and abstract appeared in the February issue of the Journal of Patient Safety.