Will Electronic Record Reviews Prevent Patient Falls?
Abt Associates will determine if routine review of patients’ reports generated from electronic health records will help to prevent falls nursing homes. The $721,435 contract, awarded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), involves piloting and evaluating a program that trains front-line nursing home staff to check patients’ risk factors for falls and establish interventions to avert them. Under the On-Time Falls Prevention Program, developed by Abt’s subcontractor, Health Management Strategies, staff in nursing homes can intervene with patients at risk of falling by providing the patient with a cane or walker, for example, before a fall happens. Abt will evaluate outcomes over the course of the two-year contract. This is one of the first health information technology (health IT) applications targeted towards a team-based prevention process – rather than to individual clinicians – to improve patient outcomes. Abt recently completed an evaluation of a similar nursing home intervention to prevent new pressure ulcers, commonly known as bed sores. This intervention also incorporates staff reviews of patient electronic health records to determine risk factors.