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Adding 'Flowsheet' to EHRs Can Help With COPD Management

The outcome of a new study published in Respiratory Medicine indicated that “integrating electronic health records into the outpatient process for individuals with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) can help disease management for such patients.”

How so? Let’s explore:

Study researchers knew that COPD required lifetime management, citing patients whose disease went unmanaged often end up hospitalized or at the emergency department, how to best and most-easily manage the disease, however, was unclear. It was decided that study researchers would “develop a standardized COPD "flowsheet" based on clinical guidelines.” The flowsheet was then “embedded in patients' EHRs and appeared on the providers' screen during COPD outpatient visits.”

The researchers then viewed study participants’ (some used flowchart and others did not) medical records and “compared their status before and after the addition of the flowsheet.” Based on their observations, the researchers hypothesized that a “structured approach that used information in the EHR system would boost compliance with clinical practice guidelines for management and evaluation of patients with stable COPD.”

Based on findings, the researchers concluded that those patients using the recommended flowchart experience an “improved advanced assessment of COPD and other quality-of-life measures”. Of these, researchers distinctly saw improvements in the areas of “influenza vaccinations, inhaler technique education, referrals to rehabilitation programs, use of long-acting lung medications, use of short-acting rescue inhalers and use of tools to for measuring a patient's COPD.”

Due to these positive findings, researchers noted that the “implementation of a standardized COPD flowsheet developed from clinical practice guidelines [is key to] improving advanced assessment of patients with COPD.”

Click Here to Access the Full Study in Respiratory Medicine