Telehealth and EHRs

Telehealth and EHRs

Almost 25 years after the Texas Telemedicine Project, one of the first major telemedicine initiatives, we are still trying to determine where and how telemedicine fits into modern nephrology.

A new rule from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) would extend access to CMS claims data to support quality improvement efforts. But the increased access to personally identifiable claims—including to for-profit companies—may pose privacy risks for patients.

Search engines are one of the first places many Americans turn when looking for health information, according to a 2013 survey by the Pew Research Center. But what they may not know is that the data from these searches is collected by the search engine and is increasingly being used for health research and public health surveillance.

Electronic health records (EHRs) have made it much easier for physicians treating patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) to collect data, including glomerular filtration rate (GFR), creatinine, blood pressure, cholesterol, anemia, and bone health, said Joseph Nally, MD, Director of the Center for Chronic Kidney Disease at the Cleveland Clinic. But they don’t always make it easy for physicians to use the data to improve patient care.

Patients with chronic kidney disease who also have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) have a 41% increased risk of death, according to a recently published study that relied on electronic health records (EHRs) (Navaneethan SD, et al. Am J Nephrol 2016; 43:39–46).

The finding is part of a growing body of evidence demonstrating the power of EHR-based studies to help elucidate the many factors that contribute to poor outcomes for patients with CKD. The technology is also being used to help test ways to improve their care.