At Kaiser Permanente, a recently released study about hip and knee replacement devices highlights how best practices can be developed (and discovered) and patient safety bolstered in large part through the gathering and analyzing of data in patient’s electronic medical records.
With 600,000 knee and hip replacements performed annually in the U.S. -- and with those numbers expected to grow as Baby Boomers age -- KP’s study advocates the development of a national registry to track procedures and patient outcomes in those surgeries.
That’s what KP’s been doing internally since 2001 when the healthcare provider first launched a registry to help track implant devices, surgical procedures, risks, complications, and other outcome data pertaining to tens of thousands of its own hip and knee replacement patients.
KP doctors on the front line were asked to document information about their hip and knee replacement patients pre- and post-operatively. When the project first kicked off, clinicians collected data using paper forms.
But over the years as KP rolled out its Epic-based KP HealthConnect e-medical record system for its 8 million patients, KP transitioned to collecting the data via electronic forms. The survey-type information collected by the surgeons was supplemented by additional data from patients’ EMRs.
“We can capture data in any encounter,” said Elizabeth Paxton, KP director of surgical outcomes and analysis and author of the implement registry study.
With the EMR in place, data about hip and knee patients was able to be collected and analyzed even when those patients were being seen by a KP doctor other than their surgeon. The compilation of all that data gives richness in the assessment of patient outcomes, enabling clinicians to electronically document for analysis problems that might’ve not been thought related to the surgery, such as signs of infection.
“It would be difficult to do this without an EMR. Paper charts are resource intensive,” said Paxton. “Paper is hard to capture data at different encounters, such as an ER or office visit,” she said.