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Results of a large study show that nurses working in hospitals with basic electronic health records (EHRs) consistently reported less frequent problems with poor patient safety and other quality-related outcomes than did their counterparts in hospitals without EHRs.

Ann Kutney-Lee, PhD, RN, and Deena Kelly, MS, RN, both of the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing in Philadelphia, analyzed nurse and hospital survey data from 16,352 nurses working in 316 hospitals in four states. The investigators reported in the Journal of Nursing Administration (2011;41[11]:466-472) that they found nurses in hospitals with fully implemented EHRs were significantly less likely to report unfavorable patient-safety issues, frequent medication errors, and low quality of care, suggesting that the level of detail available in the EHR may allow for more comprehensive unit-transfer reports and discharge summaries to outside providers.

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“Nursing administrators should be fully engaged in the process of EHR adoption and implementation to ensure effective use and success in creating seamless transitions for patients throughout the health care continuum,” advised Kutney-Lee in a statement describing the study findings. ONA