Project simplifies EHR data collection for a learning health system

Researchers from the Cincinnati Children's' Hospital Medical Center teamed up with ImproveCareNow Network to create a proof-of-concept architecture for a network-based learning health system to integrate chronic care management, quality improvement and research.

Published in eGEMS (Generating Evidence and Methods to Improve Patient Outcomes), the article details the researchers' goal of making every patient interaction with the healthcare system an opportunity to generate data used both to treat the patient and to create new evidence, as well as knowledge to improve clinical practice and support research efforts.

The ImproveCareNow network works to boost the quality of life for children and adolescents with Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. For this project, the researchers wanted to transform the network's cumbersome, web-based multicenter registry.

With funding from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the researchers worked with three leading EHR vendors to create EHR-based collection forms and electronically transfer data to the registry, deploy automated reports and identify patients for research purposes.

Thirty-one of the centers adopted the EHR-based forms to collect the data directly from the EHR, and 21 were electronically uploading the data to the registry, which created "significant" time savings over manual data entry, according to the study. They also reported ongoing uptake of the new system.  

"Networks provide the community, expertise and motivation to do this," the researchers wrote. "But to be feasible, there must be standardized approaches to allow forms, decision support and reports to be deployed across vendors." They wrote that they hope this project serves as a roadmap for others as well as a call for policymakers and sponsors to accelerate the process of defining the necessary standards and methods.

Read the complete study.