Physician shows benefits of performance data to EMRs

April 15, 2005

A physician based in suburban Chicago has shown that using electronic medicals records and documenting the profession's adherence to performance measures need not be a burden. Michael O'Toole, MD, director of medical informatics for Midwest Heart Specialists, demonstrated that integrating certain performance measures into EMRs can improve patient care and save money.

A physician based in suburban Chicago has shown that using electronic medicals records and documenting the profession's adherence to performance measures need not be a burden. Michael O'Toole, MD, director of medical informatics for Midwest Heart Specialists, demonstrated that integrating certain performance measures into EMRs can improve patient care and save money.

At a presentation before the Physician Consortium for Performance Improvement, O'Toole showed that fewer deaths, heart attacks, and strokes were observed among patients after his 60-physician practice adopted the consortium's coronary artery disease measures. The action also saved up to $5 million in hospitalization costs, compared with the results of studies involving similar patients.

The take-home message to physicians was that collecting improvement data has to be part of providing good clinical care-and not considered burdensome paperwork. O'Toole noted that the physician must change from a "data collector" to an "information analyzer" to help establish uniform performance standards, as opposed to collecting different data for a variety of health plans, reported American Medical News (12/27/04).