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Using EHRs to reduce stroke risk

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The American Heart Association states that 800,000 people experience a stroke in the United States each year. Of those, approximately 130,000 people die. Preventing or reducing the risk of stroke is crucial for independent physicians who are concerned with the quality of their patients’ healthcare. How can electronic health records (EHRs) help these physicians as they focus on helping their patients?

Researchers in California are studying the impact EHRs can have for physicians who are able to review a patient’s medical records for signs of a second stroke. Patients who have had one stroke may have an irregular heart beat called atrial fibrillation, which has been identified as a risk factor for a second stroke. The researchers have found that if physicians using EHRs can “identify the stroke patients who are most likely to experience atrial fibrillation, they could start treatments that would help prevent a second stroke.”

Stroke patients are monitored while they are in the hospital and, often, after their discharge. Not all patients require or receive such monitoring. Reviewing a patient’s medical records in an EHR can provide the independent physician the information needed to determine whether a stroke patient is in danger of experiencing additional strokes, without the need for 24/7 monitoring.

Understanding the clinical data contained in the EHR can actually help the physician determine which patients need that constant monitoring and which can be assessed based on their medical records. The study assigned risk factors and then categorized patients into risk groups based on those categories. Risk factors for stroke that are known to be “age, obesity, congestive heart failure, hypertension, coronary artery disease, peripheral vascular disease and disease of the heart valves — are the basis of a scoring system that assigns patients to one of three risk groups.”

Elation’s Clinical First EHR enables independent physicians to input and review the data that can be so crucial in predicting and reducing stroke. Our EHR tool also provides a communication tool that can play a critical role in patient-physician communication, which can also help with awareness and prevention.