Health IT appears effective in helping medical practices to keep their patients' high-blood pressure under control, according to a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine.
The combination of electronic health records and clinical decision support (CDS) systems showed the best results, according to researchers from Boston's Brigham and Women's Hospital and the University of Massachusetts Medical System in Worcester. Practices using health IT reported greater success in keeping patients' blood pressure under control and fewer disparities in outcomes among racial and ethnic groups, according to an article by CMIO.net, a health-care online news site.
According to CMIO, the researchers found:
- Providers using both an EHR and CDS managed to control the blood pressure of 78 percent of non-Hispanic whites and 85 percent of Hispanics.
- Providers using neither health IT system had blood-pressure control rates of 75 percent of non-Hispanic whites and 69 percent of non-Hispanic blacks. A comparable rate for Hispanics was not included in the CMIO article.
The researchers used data from the 2007-2008 National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey, administered by the National Center for Health Statistics. In the study group, 15 percent of providers had EHRs, 27 percent had EHRs and CDS, and 48 percent had neither. The researchers said further study is needed.
The full text of the Jan. 9 Archives of Internal Medicine article, "Impact of Electronic Health Records on Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Blood Pressure Control at U.S. Primary Care Visits," is available online for subscribers and registered users.