Electronic Medical Record Systems Fail To Improve Clinical Outcomes for Depression Patients, Study Finds
Treatment recommendations provided to primary care physicians through electronic medical record systems for patients with chronic depression had "little differential impact" on clinical outcomes, according to a study published in this month's Journal of General Internal Medicine. In the study, researchers from the University of Pittsburgh and Cornell University compared the clinical outcomes of 206 patients with chronic depression in three groups. The primary care physicians of the patients in each group received a different level of information about their conditions through EMRs over a six-month period in 1999. The study found that EMR treatment recommendations improved clinical outcomes or "various care processes for depression" in none of the three patient groups after three months or after six months, although they led to an increase in the number of scheduled follow-up visits. According to the study, "Our findings are consistent with other recent reports suggesting that contemporary EMR systems are more effective at triggering 'one-time' events than for ongoing management of a chronic medical condition" (Rollman et al., Journal of General Internal Medicine, July 2002). For more iHealth & Technology stories, visit iHealthBeat.org, a new Web publication sponsored by the California HealthCare Foundation.This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.