“Physicians can improve their communication with patients and the overall quality of their performance by using electronic health records to provide them with reminders to keep on top of clinical issues. A recent study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology found that oncologists who received email alerts were more likely to talk with their cancer patients about their end of life wishes before the patients became seriously ill.
The study, conducted by researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital, included 100 terminally ill lung cancer patients and their physicians. Before the email alerts, fewer than 15% of the patients had a documented end-of-life plan, which typically includes directions related to resuscitation and intubation efforts. For one year, physicians were reminded to discuss the issue with their patients every time they started a new course of chemotherapy, and the number of patients with end-of-life plans included in their EHR before hospitalization jumped to just over one third.”
Jennifer Bresnick, EHR Intelligence, 4 January 2013