Can electronic health records predict a patient’s future health?

Researchers at the University of Chicago are examining whether electronic health records (EHRs) can be used to make healthcare predictions. The researchers at UC Medicine believe that, by extracting information from a patient’s electronic health records, they can “create predictive models that could help prevent unplanned hospital readmissions, avoid costly complications and save lives.”

The research project is a collaborative effort of UChicago Medicine, Stanford, and the University of California, San Francisco, with Google’s machine-learning research team. An important aspect of this research is the ability to extract information from health records that are electronically maintained. When a patient’s data is stored and managed using a tool such as Elation’s Clinical First EHR, the data is accessible not only for patient care, but also to be used to improve a patient’s future health.

A Clinical First EHR enables the independent primary care physician to holistically evaluate patient population with a longitudinal record that trends vitals and lab values over time. Understanding a patient’s current situation and gathering information that helps in predicting future trends can make a significant difference in the patient’s care management plan. Communicating this information to the patient and to specialty providers caring for the patient is also a vital piece in the overall collaborative care picture.

The UC Medicine study is critical to the future of healthcare in general, given the startling statistics described in a recent Science Life article on the research project. Specifically, each year in the United States:

  • Unplanned hospital readmissions cost as much as $17 billion
  • The CDC estimates that health care-associated infections lead to 99,000 deaths
  • Problems with medications cause more than 770,000 injuries and deaths

Globally, 43 million people a year worldwide are affected by medical error.

Elation’s philosophy has always been focused on our mission of enabling phenomenal care for everyone. Our Clinical First EHR can help manage patient care more effectively now and contribute to healthcare predictions that will save lives.