Can Electronic Tools Help Improve Nursing Home Quality?
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Background: Nursing homes face challenges in the coming years due to the increased number of elderly. Quality will be under pressure, expectations of the services will rise, and clinical complexity will grow. New strategies are needed to meet this situation. Modern clinical information systems with decision support may be part of that. Objectives: To study the impact of introducing an electronic patient record system with decision support on the use of warfarin, neuroleptics and weighing of patients, in nursing homes. Methods: A prevalence study was performed in seven nursing homes with 513 subjects. A before-after study with internal controls was performed. Results: The prevalence of atrial fibrillation in the seven nursing homes was 18.8%. After intervention, the proportion of all patients taking warfarin increased from 3.0% to 9.8% (P = 0.0086), neuroleptics decreased from 33.0% to 21.5% (P = 0.0121), and the proportion not weighed decreased from 72.6% to 16.0% (P < 0.0001). The internal controls did not change significantly. Conclusion: Statistics and management data can be continuously produced to monitor the quality of work processes. The electronic health record system and its system for decision support can improve drug therapy and monitoring of treatment policy.