Study Explores Challenges with Extracting Data from Electronic Health Records

The Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association (JAMIA) recently published the article, “Challenges to electronic clinical quality measurement using third-party platforms in primary care practices: the Healthy Hearts in the Heartland experience.”

CHIP Faculty Member Faraz Ahmad, Assistant Professor of Medicine (Cardiology), CHIP Director Abel Kho, MD, and colleagues investigated issues using a third-party platform, popHealth, for reporting quality measures and outlined key challenges when using these platforms related to the quality of data in the practices, the ability to extract the data, and the standards of measuring quality. The team worked with data from the Healthy Hearts in the Heartland (H3) program, a federally-funded research project working with small- to medium-sized practices in Wisconsin, Illinois, and Indiana to implement and evaluate quality improvement strategies for cardiovascular care.

The researchers found six key problems with using a third-party platform:

  1. Lack of coded data
  2. Incorrectly categorized data
  3. Data within the incorrect context
  4. Coding that could not be directly evaluated
  5. Errors in date assignment and labeled as historical values
  6. Inadequate data to assign the correct code

The paper concluded that using existing standards for extracting and exchanging electronic health records will continue to be challenging for quality measurement. Newer standards, such as Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR), may improve the capability of using third-party platforms for electronic quality measurement, though more work testing and optimizing these standards for quality measurement is needed.

Faraz and Abel published the article in collaboration with CHIP Associate Director Theresa Walunas, PhD, as well as Luke Rasmussen, MS, Stephen Persell, MD, Joshua Richardson, PhD, David Liss, PhD, Pauline Kenly, MS, Isabel Chung, Dustin French, PhD, and Andy Schriever.

Read the abstract on JAMIA Open here.

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