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Electronic Health Records and Clinical Trials

March 30, 2010

I’m working on a submission for a short non-fiction contest for a Family Practice journal, and have been otherwise being doctorly (busy busy busy!) so pardon the lack of original writing here. I’ll post my short story if I finish it in time for the contest! It has to do with a tent and a stethoscope in the middle of nowhere and so on.

Chris Thorman recently sent me this interesting article on EHRs and clinical trials. Chris blogs at Software Advice, a web site that has comparisons of electronic health records. Here’s a preview of his article:

As we wait for the federal government to finalize important sections of the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH), there is a lot of talk about the financial incentives for implementing electronic health records (EHR). And understandably so. Practices that implement an EHR under the federal government’s guidelines stand to gain nearly $50,000 in incentives over the next five years.

A topic that hasn’t been as hotly discussed is using information gleaned from EHR software to participate in clinical trials. We think this should play a larger role in deciding whether or not a practice should purchase EHR software. Why? Participation in clinical trials has the potential to net a profit of hundreds of thousands of dollars per year. Nowthat’s an incentive to purchase an EHR.

While there are many factors that go into an EHR software purchase, we think clinical trial participation should get more consideration because:

  • Participating in these trials is easier through an EHR than through traditional paper means;
  • Using EHR data solves many of the major problems that clinical trials face; and,
  • Purchasing an EHR creates a big ROI for physicians who decide to participate in clinical trials.

Using EHR data in clinical trials is a win for physicians, patients, the companies conducting clinical trials and the entire healthcare system.

Chris details the potential profits and health gains of EHRs and clinical trials in the rest of his article. To read the rest of it, click here.

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