Do Electronic Medical Record (EMR) Systems Affect Adherence to Glaucoma Medication Regimens?

Electronic medical record (EMR) systems, defined by the Department of Health and Human Services as “an electronic record of health-related information on an individual that can be created, gathered, managed, and consulted by authorized clinicians and staff within one health care organization,” have the potential to provide substantial benefits to physicians, clinic practices, and health care organizations and improve the quality of patient care and safety. Nevertheless, despite these myriad benefits, the possibility of medical error or misinformation persists. Most recently, researchers from Boston University School of Medicine have explored the ways in which EMR discrepancies may affect glaucoma medication adherence. According to the research team, patients with glaucoma typically have ever-changing drug therapy regimens involving multiple eye drop products; in addition to these complex regimens, inconsistent documentation in glaucoma patients' electronic medical records (EMRs) can also play a role in their medication adherence.” The research, entitled Electronic Medical Records and Glaucoma Medications: Connecting the Medication Reconciliation with Adherence, is published in the Volume 10, 2016 edition of Clinical Ophthalmology. The authors conclude that “with the growing prevalence and incidence of glaucoma nationwide and the increasing presence of EMRs, inconsistent documentation in the EMR may be a contributing factor in patient [glaucoma] medication adherence. However, when inconsistencies are present, patients are more likely to follow their physician’s verbal directions than the EMR handout. Even so, clinicians should be diligent in providing consistent medication documentation throughout the EMR to reduce non-adherence due to clinician error (Source: Maureen Duffy, VisonAware™ - posted originally 4/25/16)