Using electronic medical records to reduce errors and risks in a prenatal network

Curr Opin Obstet Gynecol. 2009 Dec;21(6):527-31. doi: 10.1097/GCO.0b013e328332d171.


Purpose of review: To provide a review of the literature on the impact of implementation of electronic medical records (EMRs) on quality of care, particularly in obstetrics, and to make recommendations concerning key components of a computerized record based on this review.

Recent findings: Recent studies suggest improvement in quality of care with implementation of EMRs, although most are unable to demonstrate improvements in patient outcomes. These studies examine the effectiveness of electronic systems in various areas, for example, improvement in the delivery of patient care, complete documentation of a patient's history, reduction in medication errors, with only a few studies in obstetrics. We highlight the data on the use of EMRs in obstetrics and other areas of medicine that we find to be relevant.

Summary: Implementation of the EMR in obstetrics is gaining popularity. However, data to support its use are only now emerging. Here, we highlight the literature studying the impact of EMRs on patient care and make recommendations for key components of a computerized system based on these studies. We also emphasize the need for continued study in this area, particularly in obstetrics, in which improvement in care may be able to be demonstrated.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Decision Support Systems, Clinical
  • Documentation
  • Electronic Health Records*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Medical Errors / prevention & control*
  • Medical Order Entry Systems
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Care
  • Quality Indicators, Health Care
  • Quality of Health Care
  • Reminder Systems