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Electronic Health Records Associated with Lower Hospital Mortality After Systems Have Time to Mature

Lin SC, Jha AK, Adler-Milstein J. Health Aff (Millwood). 2018 Jul;37(7):1128-1135. [CrossRef] [PubMed]

The effect of electronic health record (EHR) adoption on mortality is mixed. The authors used data for the period 2008–13 to assess the relationship between EHR adoption and thirty-day mortality rates. They found that baseline adoption was associated with a 0.11-percentage-point higher rate per function. Over time, maturation of the baseline functions was associated with a 0.09-percentage-point reduction in mortality rate per year per function. Each new function adopted in the study period was associated with a 0.21-percentage-point reduction in mortality rate per year per function. They observed effect modification based on size and teaching status, with small and nonteaching hospitals realizing greater gains. Importantly, US hospitals that adopted EHRs had improved 30-day mortality rates compared to those hospitals that did not adopt EHRs. These findings suggest that implementation of EHRs lowers mortality but achieving a reduction in mortality will take time.

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