Impact of Electronic Health Records on Long-Term Care Facilities: Systematic Review.
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Background: Long-term care (LTC) facilities are an important part of the health care industry, providing care to the fastest-growing group of the population. However, the adoption of electronic health records (EHRs) in LTC facilities lags behind other areas of the health care industry. One of the reasons for the lack of widespread adoption in the United States is that LTC facilities are not eligible for incentives under the Meaningful Use program. Implementation of an EHR system in an LTC facility can potentially enhance the quality of care, provided it is appropriately implemented, used, and maintained. Unfortunately, the lag in adoption of the EHR in LTC creates a paucity of literature on the benefits of EHR implementation in LTC facilities.
Objective: The objective of this systematic review was to identify the potential benefits of implementing an EHR system in LTC facilities. The study also aims to identify the common conditions and EHR features that received favorable remarks from providers and the discrepancies that needed improvement to build up momentum across LTC settings in adopting this technology.
Methods: The authors conducted a systematic search of PubMed, Cumulative Index of Nursing and Allied Health (CINAHL), and MEDLINE databases. Papers were analyzed by multiple referees to filter out studies not germane to our research objective. A final sample of 28 papers was selected to be included in the systematic review.
Results: Results of this systematic review conclude that EHRs show significant improvement in the management of documentation in LTC facilities and enhanced quality outcomes. Approximately 43% (12/28) of the papers reported a mixed impact of EHRs on the management of documentation, and 33% (9/28) of papers reported positive quality outcomes using EHRs. Surprisingly, very few papers demonstrated an impact on patient satisfaction, physician satisfaction, the length of stay, and productivity using EHRs.
Conclusions: Overall, implementation of EHRs has been found to be effective in the few LTC facilities that have implemented them. Implementation of EHRs in LTC facilities caused improved management of clinical documentation that enabled better decision making.