PORTLAND, Ore., Aug. 24, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- A groundbreaking study by the OCHIN Practice Based Research Network ("Safety Net West"), titled Electronic Health Records vs. Medicaid Claims: Completeness of Diabetes Preventive Care Data in Community Health Centers, concludes that networked EHRs provide new opportunities for obtaining more comprehensive data regarding health services received – especially among populations with breaks in insurance. And that relying solely on Medicaid claims data is likely to substantially underestimate the quality of care.
Principal Investigators, Jennifer E. DeVoe, MD, DPhil, Executive Director of OCHIN's Practice-based Research Network ("Safety Net West") and a member of the Department of Family Medicine, Oregon Health and Sciences University and Rachel Gold, PhD, MPH, Kaiser Permanente Northwest Center for Health Research were joined by their community based research partners, Patti McIntire, BA: PPPM, Jon Puro, MPA-HA, Susan Chauvie, RN, MPA-HA with OCHIN, and Charles A. Gallia, PhD with the Division of Medical Assistance Programs, State of Oregon, Human Services Department in this collaborative work.
Safety Net West encourages collaborative practice-based research that increases health equity, improves quality of care, and informs health policy. Research conducted in partnership with the Safety Net West clinics relies extensively on data maintained at OCHIN.
The electronic health record (EHR) based study offers more care quality details than Medicaid Claims data alone. Researchers evaluated the documentation of preventive services of 2,100 Medicaid patients with diabetes at 50 Oregon community health centers (CHC). They found that a significant percentage of preventive services administered were documented in EHRs but not included in Medicaid claims – including essential influenza vaccinations, cholesterol screenings and hemoglobin A1c blood tests.
Also noted in the study were patient groups more likely to have services documented in their EHR but not in their Medicaid claims. Some patients included were males, senior citizens and Spanish speakers.
The research team sited policy implications in that the findings show how robust EHR data from CHC networks can provide a new resource for policy makers to better understand health services delivery in CHC populations and how EHR databases—such as the one being built and maintained by OCHIN—will be key to the study of how health reform policies implemented under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (PPACA) affect the uninsured and underinsured.
Dr. DeVoe is a medical doctor and nationally respected researcher. As the Director of Safety Net West she is bringing together community and professional research teams to address public health issues of uninsured and underinsured populations using OCHIN's rich data base of over a million patients in seven states.
Susan Chauvie, RN, MPA-HA and OCHIN's vice president of clinical operations said, "by providing evidence based research that can improve care and inform policy – we're helping to improve our entire healthcare delivery system."
About OCHIN and Safety Net West:
OCHIN is a national non-profit organization headquartered in Portland, Oregon that provides integrated HIT software products and services to community health clinics, mental health services, rural/critical care hospitals and small practices serving the medically underserved. As an OCHIN business unit, an Agency for Health Research and Quality and a registered Practice-based Research Network, the mission of Safety Net West is to improve the health of underserved populations, enhance quality of care, and inform health policy through research. For more information please visit www.ochin.org