The use of electronic medical records (EMR) has been shown to improve overall patient care and safety, but how does it fare when it comes to diabetes care? Here are some of the ways that EMR systems are helping to improve diabetes care.

Identification of Undiagnosed Diabetes Cases

According to the 2014 National Diabetes Statistics Report of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 29.1 million Americans have diabetes, though there are only 21 million diagnosed cases. This means that 27.8 percent of Americans have undiagnosed diabetes.

Through the application of simple logarithms to electronic medical records and consistent coding, researchers have said that identifying undiagnosed cases of diabetes has been made easier.

Team Cohesion in Primary Care

Care coordination plays a big part. High cohesion primary care teams are important in providing safe and reliable healthcare and meeting patient care goals. Primary care teams are generally comprised of physicians, registered nurses and pharmacists.

Various research has been done to explore the correlation of the use of electronic medical records and team cohesion. Based on the results, it is clear that the use of EMR systems have improved the healthcare services that high cohesive primary teams provide. Diabetic patients that have been subjected to this type of care showed modest but significant improvements, not just in their glycemic control but their lipid panels as well.

Overall Diabetic Care

In October 2012, a study was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine that took a closer look at the relationship of diabetic care and the use of certified EMR systems. It concluded that by using a certified EMR system, there were better drug treatment intensification and monitoring. It also showed that there was an improvement in physiologic control for a great number of the diabetic patients monitored, the greatest improvements coming from patients with poor control.

As Compared to Paper-based Practices

A research on Electronic Health Records and Quality of Diabetes Care was released by the New England Journal of Medicine. It showed that EMR practices were able to provide the recommended healthcare standards to about 51 percent of their patients whereas in paper-based practices, they were only able to provide 7 percent of this level of care. It also showed that EMR practices had better annual improvements in care and outcomes than paper-based practices.

Electronic medical records have made a positive impact to diabetes care. EMR systems may not be the answer to all the gaps in the American healthcare industry, but thanks to its adoption and implementation, it is slowly changing for the better.