The effectiveness of implementing an electronic health record on diabetes care and outcomes

Health Serv Res. 2012 Aug;47(4):1522-40. doi: 10.1111/j.1475-6773.2011.01370.x. Epub 2012 Jan 17.


Objective: To assess the impact of electronic health record (EHR) implementation on primary care diabetes care.

Data sources: Charts were abstracted semi-annually for 14,051 diabetes patients seen in 34 primary care practices in a large, fee-for-service network from January 1, 2005 to December 31, 2010. The study sample was limited to patients aged 40 years or older.

Study design: A naturalistic experiment in which GE Centricity Physician Office-EMR 2005 was rolled out over a staggered 3-year schedule.

Data collection: Chart audits were conducted using the AMA/Physician Consortium Adult Diabetes Measure set. The primary outcome was the HealthPartners' "optimal care" measure: HbA1c ≤ 8 percent; LDL cholesterol < 100 mg/dl; blood pressure < 130/80 mmHg; not smoking; and documented aspirin use in patients ≥ 40 years of age.

Principal findings: After adjusting for patient age, sex, and insulin use, patients exposed to the EHR were significantly more likely to receive "optimal care" when compared with unexposed patients (p < .001), with an estimated difference of 9.20 percent (95% CI: 6.08, 12.33) in the final year between exposed patients and patients never exposed. Components of the optimal care bundle showing positive improvement after adjustment were systolic blood pressure <80 mmHg, diastolic blood pressure <130 mmHg, aspirin prescription, and smoking cessation. Among patients exposed to EHR, all process and outcome measures except HbA1c and lipid control showed significant improvement.

Conclusion: Implementation of a commercially available EHR in primary care practice may improve diabetes care and clinical outcomes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Algorithms
  • Ambulatory Care / standards*
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Diabetes Mellitus / therapy*
  • Electronic Health Records*
  • Female
  • Health Services Research
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Outcome and Process Assessment, Health Care*
  • Prevalence
  • Primary Health Care / standards*
  • Quality of Health Care*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Texas