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Electronic medical records reduce hours, cut cost

FEBRUARY 10, NEW YORK, NY A new clinical study published today in this month's American Journal of Managed Care demonstrated that a technology-driven clinical decision support system applying evidence-based clinical guidelines to patient's electronic medical data helps flag potentially serious clinical errors or deviations from accepted best practices, while making a significant improvement on the cost and quality of medical care.

This 12-month randomized, prospective study of 39,462 members of QualChoice, a University Hospitals Health System healthcare plan in Cleveland, Ohio, is the first ever large-scale study of a clinical decision support system conducted in an outpatient health plan environment. Researchers for ActiveHealth Management evaluated the cost impact of ActiveHealth's clinical decision support tool, the CareEngine system. The CareEngine clinical decision support system compares the most up-to-date, evidence-based clinical guidelines to an individual patient's data in order to identify clinical interventions and issue clinical recommendations called Care Considerations -- spanning a wide range of disease categories. In the study, each patient was randomized either to the intervention group the group that would receive Care Considerations or the control group those for whom Care Considerations were identified, but not communicated.

Underscoring the potential danger of a paper-based medical system with no measure of "checks and balances," the study identified 46 potentially serious medical errors per 1,000 persons nearly one for every 20 members. The study demonstrated 19% fewer hospitalizations, and an $817 annual reduction in paid claims, in the intervention group versus the control group among those who triggered Care Considerations. There was also a 42% higher compliance rate in the intervention group with the standards of care addressed by the system's recommendations to add new medications to the patient's regimen.
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Contact: Robyn Jackson
robyn.jackson@ketchum.com
646-935-3983
Ketchum
10-Feb-2005


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