EHR Credited With Saving A Patient's Life

Wed, 09/07/2011 - 5:27am

Improved outcomes for patients is believed to be an important benefit of using electronic health records, yet few physicians can cite specific instances where such software has made a life-saving difference. Dr. Shankar Santhanam of Lawrenceville, NJ, might be an exception. He credits the use of the Amazing Charts electronic health record system for saving a patient's life by following the evidence-based, decision-support recommendations offered by the software.

Dr. Santhanam performed a physical exam on a 65-year old man who had hypertension and was an active smoker. Aware of the patient's risk for an aortic aneurysm, Dr. Santhanam performed an abdominal exam, but did not detect anything that would raise his suspicion. Based on the patient's risk factors, however, the Amazing Charts EHR system recommended the patient be additionally screened to rule-out an aneurysm.

"Amazing Charts popped up a reminder to check for abdominal aneurysm based on his history," recalls Dr. Santhanam. "Although I could not palpate a mass or note any unusual bruits on exam, the risk-factor reminder tilted my decision making, and I ordered an ultrasound and told him to get it done immediately. The tests revealed a large aortic abdominal aneurysm and bilateral iliac aneurysms in his legs." Between 2010 and 2011, the patient underwent multiple surgeries and further testing during these procedures also found a thoracic aneurysm and multi-vessel heart disease. He underwent iliac artery coil embolizations, abdominal and thoracic aortic aneurysm repairs, CABG x3, and a pacemaker placement for Type II Mobitz Heart block.

The surgeries were successful and the patient is currently recovering under the care of Dr. Santhanam.



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