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Journal of Healthcare Engineering
Volume 2 (2011), Issue 3, Pages 271-283
http://dx.doi.org/10.1260/2040-2295.2.3.271
Research Article

Value of the Electronic Medical Record for Hospital Care: A Review of the Literature

Aykut Uslu1 and Jürgen Stausberg2

1USLU Medizininformatik, Rembrandtstr. 15, 40237 Düsseldorf, Germany
2Institut für Medizinische Informationsverarbeitung, Biometrie und Epidemiologie (IBE), Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, München, Germany

Received 1 September 2010; Accepted 1 March 2011

Copyright © 2011 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Electronic medical records (EMRs) are a core means to reduce hospital costs and to improve quality of hospital care. In this work, empirical studies between 2004 and 2010 were analyzed to summarize the evidence of economic and medical benefits achieved. Using Medline, 578 articles were retrieved with seven studies compliant with the inclusion criteria. Five studies supported a reduction of costs; another study found a negative effect. Relating to health care quality, five studies gave at least positive indices, while another found mixed results. The small number of relevant studies might be due to a shift from hospital care to outpatient and ambulatory care. In view of the good evidence from local implementations, the pervasion of EMRs is surprisingly low. This corresponds with intermingled results based on analyses of secondary data from large samples of hospitals. More public awareness is needed to convince health care providers to implement EMRs.