By Allison Laffan, Kaela Byers, Julie McCrae, et al., Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago, 2019
As the pediatric healthcare field innovates to address social determinants of health and help families meet concrete needs, electronic health records can serve as an important tool for quality improvement and evaluation. Variation in systems, staff knowledge, skills, and availability of resources present barriers to realizing the full potential of this tool. Addressing these barriers systematically across the pediatric field could unlock the potential of using electronic health records to inform innovations for high-quality healthcare for children and families that support health and well-being.
What We Did
The transition in the healthcare field from paper records to electronic health records (EHR) introduces opportunities to streamline and inform a number of functions, including billing, quality reporting, service tracking, and evaluation of health outcomes. Researchers surveyed and held discussions with staff from nine pediatric clinics in 5 communities to learn about the technical capabilities of clinics to use patient electronic health records. Staff use these records for evaluation and quality improvement purposes, specifically related to their effort to introduce screening and referral to address social determinants of health (SDOH) consistent with AAP Bright Futures Guidelines for pediatric primary care.