Electronic Health Record Evaluation

Toolkit for Improving Your Office Testing Process

The Electronic Health Record Evaluation Tool can help you identify how your electronic health record (EHR) can support you and your office staff in monitoring the safety of your testing process.

Using the Tool

  • Identify the individuals who prepare or use reports and ask them to complete the tool.
  • A "No" answer to any shaded question indicates either:
    • Your EHR cannot provide data on this aspect of patient safety and the testing process.
    • Or, staff are not aware of the EHR's capacity to provide these data.
  • A "Yes" answer to a shaded question followed by "No" answers to the subsidiary questions indicates that the EHR can provide limited support in that area.

Using EHR Reports for Quality Improvement Photo depicts a woman using a keyboard and desktop computer.

  • Identify the report(s) that will provide the most helpful information for your project.
  • Be sure to consider staff resources needed to generate and review a report.
  • Generate the report(s) before a change has been implemented and then a few weeks after the change.
  • Note that a reduction in the proportion of problematic results will indicate that the testing process was improved.

Using EHR Reports to Monitor Your Office System

You should generate the same report regularly to monitor performance and identify any positive or negative trends.

EHRs and Patient Safety

We know that:

  • Introducing EHRs into primary care offices can make locating patient records much easier.
  • Offices may not document staff responsibilities for using EHR reports to monitor the testing process.
  • Offices often struggle with a new system that may not address their specific needs and processes.
  • EHRs automatically complete some tasks in the testing process. However, offices with EHRs that automatically document steps in the testing process do not eliminate all errors.
  • Most EHRs do not automatically document these tasks:
    • Interpretation of test results by providers.
    • Notification of patients about their results.
    • Followup on abnormal tests.

Electronic Health Record (EHR) Evaluation Tool

For these questions, a "test" is defined as any type of laboratory or imaging test.

Which reports are you able to obtain from your EHR?

1. A report that identifies all tests ordered during a specific time period?yes ___no ___
If yes:
Are you able to organize the report by test type?yes ___no ___
2. A report that identifies all outstanding test orders?yes ___no ___
If yes:
Are you able to organize the report by test type?yes ___no ___
Are you able to organize the report by lab/imaging center?yes ___no ___
Does your EHR automatically notify you if test results are not returned within a predetermined timeframe?yes ___no ___
3. A report that identifies the time it takes for results to be returned to your practice?yes ___no ___
If yes:
Are you able to organize the report by test type?yes ___no ___
Are you able to organize the report by lab/imaging center?yes ___no ___
4. A report that indicates how long it takes to review results after they are available in the EHR?yes ___no ___
5. A report that identifies those patients who did not receive their results?yes ___no ___
6. A report that identifies all abnormal results for a specific time period?yes ___no ___
If yes:
Are you able to determine how long it took to notify the patient after the result was received by the office?yes ___no ___
Are you able to determine whether the patient has followed up appropriately?yes ___no ___
Page last reviewed August 2013
Internet Citation: Electronic Health Record Evaluation: Toolkit for Improving Your Office Testing Process. August 2013. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. http://www.ahrq.gov/professionals/quality-patient-safety/quality-resources/tools/office-testing-toolkit/officetesting-toolkit10.html