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Links between electronic records and accreditation


An electronic health records system is a strong indicator of whether an aged care facility will pass or fail accreditation, according to research to be presented at an upcoming national e-health conference.

University of Wollongong PhD student Tao Jiang said the study found that facilities not using electronic health records (EHRs) had a very high risk of failing aged care accreditation.

The study, which began in 2013, is looking at the relationship between using EHRs in residential aged care facilities and meeting the accreditation standards for client safety.

The first phase analysed the data from 2,754 residential aged care reports based on accreditation agency audits between 2 January and 3 December, 2013.

“All of the homes using an EHR system met the accreditation standard for information systems,” Mr Jiang told Technology Review.

“In total, 13 RAC homes failed one or more accreditation standards but only one of these was using an EHR system.”

That facility met the standard for information systems but failed to meet the standards for human resource management and clinical care, Mr Jiang said.

The other 12 facilities, which did not use EHRs, failed the accreditation standard for information systems, he said.

The research also identified several risk factors relating to electronic health records.

“If you use an electronic health record system you can get accurate information in a very short time and you can also see the terms. Electronic health records have an advantage in education and also they can learn several risk factors for you,” Mr Jiang said.

According to the records, around 37.4 per cent of aged care facilities were using an EHR system as at 3 December, 2013, but uptake had probably increased since then, he said.

Mr Jiang said they were particularly interested in researching facilities when they start using an EHR system to further investigate the relationship with accreditation.

However, there were new challenges since the accreditation agency changed from a company on 1 January 2014 to the Aged Care Quality Agency, a government agency, because the data had changed.

“In the beginning we only got 2,754 reports from the website but just now we can get almost 8,000 reports,” Mr Jiang said.

Data from 2014 has not yet been interrogated but the ongoing data mining research, which involves designing software and tools to automatically analyse the data, will try to identify further links between EHRs and accreditation and other positive and negative activity, he said.

Mr Jiang will present information from the study at the Aged Care Informatics stream at Health Informatics Society of Australia’s Health Informatics Conference, which takes place from 3 – 5 August in Brisbane.

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