Effects of computerized guidelines for managing heart disease in primary care
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BACKGROUND: Electronic information systems have been proposed as one means to reduce medical errors of commission (doing the wrong thing) and omission (not providing indicated care).
OBJECTIVE: To assess the effects of computer-based cardiac care suggestions.
DESIGN: A randomized, controlled trial targeting primary care physicians and pharmacists.
SUBJECTS: A total of 706 outpatients with heart failure and/or ischemic heart disease.
INTERVENTIONS: Evidence-based cardiac care suggestions, approved by a panel of local cardiologists and general internists, were displayed to physicians and pharmacists as they cared for enrolled patients.
MEASUREMENTS: Adherence with the care suggestions, generic and condition-specific quality of life, acute exacerbations of their cardiac disease, medication compliance, health care costs, satisfaction with care, and physicians’ attitudes toward guidelines.
RESULTS: Subjects were followed for 1 year during which they made 3,419 primary care visits and were eligible for 2,609 separate cardiac care suggestions. The intervention had no effect on physicians’ adherence to the care suggestions (23% for intervention patients vs 22% for controls). There were no intervention-control differences in quality of life, medication compliance, health care utilization, costs, or satisfaction with care. Physicians viewed guidelines as providing helpful information but constraining their practice and not helpful in making decisions for individual patients.
CONCLUSIONS: Care suggestions generated by a sophisticated electronic medical record system failed to improve adherence to accepted practice guidelines or outcomes for patients with heart disease. Future studies must weigh the benefits and costs of different (and perhaps more Draconian) methods of affecting clinician behavior.
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- Effects of computerized guidelines for managing heart disease in primary care
Journal of General Internal Medicine
Volume 18, Issue 12 , pp 967-976
- Cover Date
- Print ISSN
- Online ISSN
- Additional Links
- ambulatory information systems
- clinical practice guidelines
- coronary artery disease
- decision support systems
- drug utilization review
- heart failure
- Industry Sectors
- Author Affiliations
- 1. Received from the Regenstrief Institute for Health Care, Indiana University School of Medicine, USA
- 2. Department of Medicine, Indiana University School of Medicine, USA
- 3. Richard L. Roudebush Veterans Affairs Medical Center, USA
- 5. Purdue University School of Pharmacy, Indianapolis, Ind
- 6. College of Public Health, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa