The Need for Electronic Health Records in Long-Term Care

Stud Health Technol Inform. 2017;234:315-320.


Long-term care (LTC) settings serve an important proportion of seniors and vulnerable populations that require 24-hour nursing care. Deployment of interoperable electronic health records (iEHRs) to these settings lag. There is little evidence on the availability of patient information from across the continuum of care. To fill this knowledge gap this study examines the prevalence and nature of information gaps experienced in LTC during patient encounters (n=1050). Overall, more than one-third (34%) of all LTC patient encounters were missing at least one item of information that was needed for the encounter. Approximately 59% of missing information during patient encounters was documented or ordered by a clinician external to the LTC facility; 41% were within the LTC facility itself. These information gaps have an adverse consequence for nearly 3 out of every 10 (31%) patient encounters in LTC. Extending iEHRs to LTC has the potential to support timely, appropriate, and better quality of patient care and improve provider experience.

Keywords: Electronic health records; benefits; health information exchange; information gaps; interoperability; long term care.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Electronic Health Records*
  • Humans
  • Long-Term Care*
  • Nursing Homes