Background: Electronic health record (EHR) systems have the potential to revolutionize quality improvement (QI) methods by enhancing quality measurement and integrating multiple proven QI strategies.
Objectives: To implement and evaluate a multifaceted QI intervention using EHR tools to improve quality measurement (including capture of contraindications and patient refusals), make point-of-care reminders more accurate, and provide more valid and responsive clinician feedback (including lists of patients not receiving essential medications) for 16 chronic disease and preventive service measures.
Design: Time series analysis at a large internal medicine practice using a commercial EHR.
Subjects: All adult patients eligible for each measure (range approximately 100-7500).
Measures: The proportion of eligible patients who satisfied each measure after removing those with exceptions from the denominator.
Results: During the year before the intervention, performance improved significantly for 8 measures. During the year after the intervention, performance improved significantly for 14 measures. For 9 measures, the primary outcome improved more rapidly during the intervention year than during the previous year (P < 0.001 for 8 measures, P = 0.02 for 1). Four other measures improved at rates that were not significantly different from the previous year. Improvements resulted from increases in patients receiving the service, documentation of exceptions, or a combination of both. For 5 drug-prescribing measures, more than half of physicians achieved 100% performance.
Conclusions: Implementation of a multifaceted QI intervention using EHR tools to improve quality measurement and the accuracy and timeliness of clinician feedback improved performance and/or accelerated the rate of improvement for multiple measures simultaneously.